Home Invasion Robbery at Medical Marijuana Grow Site

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, July 30 2012 at 6:18 PM, Updated: Mon, July 30 2012 at 6:49 PM

In the middle of the night 52-year-old Richard Patterson, a medical marijuana grower was robbed on Saturday, in a home off East Evans Creek Road in Rogue River.

Patterson, who has a black eye and says his shoulder is broken from the scuffle, spoke with NBC 5 News off camera. He said he's scared if people find out where he lives, he could get targeted again. That's why NBC 5 is not showing his home.

Another marijuana grower living nearby said she understands Patterson's unease.

"I'm in fear all the time," said Sandra, who would only identify herself by her first name.

She said she wouldn't talk on camera because she's scared of getting robbed herself.

"I stay awake nights and sleep during the day," said Sandra.

"We have to carry our guns with us at home loaded, that's the way it is," she continued.

Officials at the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said 22-year-old William Sandlin and 28-year-old Joseph Callas walked through Patterson's unlocked door around 3:30 Saturday morning and stole $700 from the homeowner at gun point. Patterson said when the two men told him to get on the ground face-down, he began putting up a fight. According to Patterson, he knew William Sandlin, one of the alleged robbers. He said Sandlin was a part-time yard worker on his property.        

According to authorities, Sandlin said he robbed Patterson because he was owed money.

Police said after a brief struggle where a gunshot was fired into the air, the duo took off in a car driven by 19-year-old Brooke Villa-Statton.   

"This isn't the first situation when it comes to medical marijuana," said Andrea Carlson with the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Carlson said violence and crime are common when it comes to medical marijuana grows.

"There's cash on the property [...] there's drugs on the property [...] it becomes a perfect storm for crime," said Carlson.

However, for nearby grower Sandra,

"It helps me, if it didn't I wouldn't do it. It's a lot of risk," she said.

It's a risk her and many others are willing to take despite the potential for thieves.

All three suspects are in the Jackson County Jail charged with robbery, menacing, and assault among others.

Patterson said this is the first time he's had a problem on his medical marijuana grow site.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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