SPRING VALLEY, Calif. – A search was underway Tuesday for two suspects who fired shots and pistol-whipped a man in the head during a robbery at a Spring Valley marijuana dispensary.
The takeover-style heist was occurred about 11:40 p.m. Monday at a business park at 9966 Dolores St. The gunmen entered the Spring Valley Collective and ordered customers and employees to the ground, then robbed the dispensary and fled before deputies arrived, San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Barry said. He said 911 callers said shots were fired at some point.
Nobody was injured by the gunfire, but when deputies arrived, they found a man with blunt force trauma injuries, Barry said.
The injured victim, whose name was not released, was taken to an undisclosed hospital for evaluation, Barry said.
It was unclear whether the crime was related to armed heists of a similar nature in the Spring Valley area. Prior to Monday, the most recent similar hold-up reported in the area happened last Aug. 10 at the Bancroft Mega Wellness dispensary in the 3600 block of Bancroft Drive, less than two miles from the Spring Valley Collective.
At that time, sheriff’s Sgt. Kotaro Murashige of the Rancho San Diego substation described a similar robbery to the one on Monday, in which two armed men forced their way into the illegal dispensary, disarmed a security guard, forced everyone to the ground and made off with marijuana products.
Murashige said in August that it was a familiar pattern from several previous robberies in the Spring Valley area.
“In each case, armed guards were not a deterrent, the suspects were all armed (and) dispensary staff members failed to call for help even after people were physically assaulted,” the sergeant said. “In some cases the staff members refused to allow law enforcement to enter, causing a stand-off situation that stretched the department’s resources in helping victims.”
The Dolores Street dispensary robbed Monday was familiar to Spring Valley deputies. On Feb. 8, sheriff’s detectives and members of the San Diego Crime Suppression Team raided the illegal business and confiscated marijuana, edibles, cash and a loaded BB pistol, according to Sgt. Matt Cook.
Despite the use of marijuana becoming legal statewide at the beginning of this year, businesses that sell marijuana are still banned from operating throughout much of the county, including all unincorporated areas of the county. Legitimate marijuana businesses are allowed to operate in the city of San Diego and some other cities, but must be licensed.