From the Files of – Thankfully Some Criminals are Jackasses – Vol. 71

Photo by PoPville flickr user christopher.poole

In which hailing a cab carrying large electronics after a robbery and leaving your back door open while cultivating a massive illegal drug operation is probably not a good idea… Also understanding that MPD uses the term gentleman liberally…

From MPD:

I would like to acknowledge an arrest of a Burglary perpetrator. On February 25, 2011, just before midnight, Second District Officers Adam Crist and Steven Green responded to the 2700 block of P Street NW in reference to an alarm. While responding and in the 2400 block of P Street NW, the officers observed a gentleman attempting to flag down a cab with a conspicuously large unwrapped electronic item. The gentleman was subsequently stopped and a brief query ensued. The residence in question was found to be unsecured. A canvass within the residence revealed that a large electronic item was missing. The officers were able to link the item to the residence. The perpetrator also was in the possession of drug paraphernalia. He was charged with burglary and well as for the drug paraphernalia. We will make the appropriate queries to determine if the perpetrator is linked to burglaries in the area.

From MPD March 1:

On yesterdays date during the evening tour of duty, Fifth District’s burglary reduction unit was working in PSA 501 patrolling the unit block of Adams Street NW. While in the alley Sgt Purnell and the team noticed an open back door that seemed unattended. They responded to investigate the matter, as they approached the a male subject approached the door and began acting evasive. Further investigation revealed a massive marijuana farm being cultivated in the basement of the location, also recovered were three firearms and many other distribution materials. All parties involved have been charged with several narcotic violations !!

31 Comment

  • Gotta love stupid criminals! I suppose if they were smart, they’d be doing something more productive with themselves.

  • Let me guess: It was a 50″ plasma.

  • i don’t smoke but i kinda feel sorry for the pot farm. dude left his door open and ends up in jail an hour later? doesn’t sound exactly the way this country is supposed to work…

    • it’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I think this is also an important part of that incident “also recovered were three firearms”

      • i’m glad they are in jail now. i’m just saying no one is coming into my house without a warrant.

        • My hazy knowledge says: Open door = no warrant necessary

          • Gotta be a whole lot more than an open door to search the joint without a warrant or some pretty solid probable cause.

            Acting weird or “evasive” on it’s own isn’t enough, as far as I’m concerned. Is there more to this? Did they smell pot? See some pot over his shoulder? See a firearm on the kitchen table? Seems fishy to me.

          • You’re correct – if an officer can see from the street that illegal activity is occurring, the officer needn’t obtain a warrant to search. This is known as the “plain view” doctrine. However, in this instance, the marijuana plants were in the basement, thus not in plain view. But, the description of the event leaves out whether the individual consented to the search, which, he probably did.

      • Don’t think that absolutely points to violent crimes being perpetrated by the people in charge of said marijuana farm. If you are executing such an operation in this city you are probably gonna feel the need for some sort of fire arm to protect your investment. After all having that much product does make you a target, and not just to police.. End of the day it is a shame that such a drug as marijuana is forced into the realm of sketchy behavior. But yes… indeed… CLOSE YOUR DAMN DOOR, WHATCHA THINKING… NO MAMES…

    • No, no, no…

      Once Five officers came to my door with a warrant looking for a previous resident. Insisting he was here, they said they wanted to come in to look around.

      They asked if they could and I asked, “Why, I told you no one lives here by that name and I was the new owner. Check the Public record… We have warrant (for his arrest not to search my home.) blah, blah, blah.”

      Still they asked to come in and I said, “No, not without a warrant to search my home.

      They never returned.

      Oh… and yes my front door was open.

      • If a police officer standing outside your open door can see through the open door into your grow operation and identify cannabis growing, s/he has probable cause to enter the residence. The MJ is in plain view, and the likelihood the evidence would be destroyed or removed if the police left to get a search warrant is high, resulting in exigent circumstances which are an exception to the general warrant requirement. See, e.g., Horton v. California, 496 US 128 (1990); Coolidge v. New Hampshire, 103 US 443 (1971); Arizona v. Hicks, 480 US 321 (1987); Minnesota v. Olsen, 495 US 91 (1990).

        • The farm was in the basement. Not likely visible while standing on the back porch. I’d still like to know what other probable cause they had. Sure, it’s a subjective call, but nothing in the description of the event provides enough reason, IMHO.

          • Who said they were standing on the back porch? The article says the police saw an unattended open back door from the alley, and when they went onto the property to investigate, things developed.

            I don’t know about your house, but my house (and about 90% of the houses in my part of Petworth) have two rear doors–one to the kitchen, and one to the basement. My basement (and all the one’s around my house) have windows through which someone standing in the back yard can easily see into the basement unless the blinds are closed.

            This guy most likely thought he could grow with impunity and no one would bother him. There’s about a 200% chance that he didn’t have anything covering the basement windows, and left the basement door open while he was zoned out. When the guy noticed the police walking up his back yard toward the open door, he panicked and drew attention to what was happening in the basement.

          • These grow operations usually smell. A LOT. So much that even if it was in the basement, unless the room was hermetically sealed, you’d probably smell it at the front door, even if it were closed. I’d imagine that would be enough for probable cause, if the officers are experienced enough in such matters to know what they were smelling.

          • You’re making a ton of assumptions as well as your outlandish “200% chance”-of-uncovered-windows statement. None of the things you’re assuming happened here, or are true for “90%” of houses in Petworth are true at my house, or my neighbors’.

            To be fair, I did make the assumption that when the report said “back door” they didn’t mean basement door. I assumed they’d say “basement door” if that’s what they meant. To me, a back door is a ground level door. I think that was a fair reading of the report, but I could be wrong.

            I’m trying to stick to facts, rather than relying on a lot of supposin’ and “most likely” statements.

          • Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. You are basically arguing your assumptions are more accurate than the assumptions of someone else.

          • @Anonymous 3:36
            You’re right. I AM arguing that my ONE assumption based on a reading of the facts is a more reasonable assumption than things like “there’s a 200% chance” that every single window was uncovered and that the basement was clearly visible from anywhere in the yard.

            It’s also a better assumption than a whole bunch of “most likely’s” about the layout of 90% of the houses in Petworth.

            There are assumptions based on reason (mine), then there are wild speculations based on, well, pretty much nothing. We’re both speculating, but I’ll warrant mine is more accurate.

      • Wow, you just keep proving the original point. Only now you’ve confirmed you’re pretty much a jerk too.

  • The stupid criminals are the only ones the lazy ass MPD officers will catch, or would even bother to investigate. The less work the better for MPD!

    • Speak for your own police district Marmot. The cops in my district are on top of stuff and respond in a heart beat.

      Maybe if you went to more citizen advisory councils, you’d have better cops.

  • This is my block- can someone link to the original crime report, so I can read more about it?

    • If this the house (and guy) I’m thinking of it was an open secret to anybody sharing the alley with them. Either the cops were “looking for an excuse” according to other commenters, or they completely lucked out with the burglary patrol. Either way, good riddance. Won’t have to watch him walking back-and-forth in the alley to deal to people pulled over on N Cap any more.

      On a related tangent, does anybody know if Pepco cooperates with local DC jurisdictions in targeting possible grow houses? I know that has been a debate in other areas. It is fairly easy to pinpoint them, they use MASSIVE amounts of juice. Unless, of course, they’ve tapped into a line upstream of the meter.

  • It sounds like the pot bust was a case of the police knowing that the house was a known operation, and patrolled it until they found something “suspicious” so they could act on it. just a hunch. an “unattended door” isn’t exactly the most concrete evidence of illicit activity.

    • RD if, so how come that wasn’t mentioned in the police report? I agree with TaylorStMan that the police needed more than ‘evasive’ behavior to search the house. I hope the search gets challenged in court. I also agree with PoP that the presence of firearms makes this a much more serious incident.

    • It does say it was the burglary reduction task force…so they could have been checking all the open windows, doors, etc. in the alley. Maybe EW or others on the block can say if there’ve been a lot of break-ins nearby lately?

      Regardless, nice work by the police. 3 guns off the street is a good thing.

      • I haven’t noticed any break-ins, however near the end of the year either November or December, there was an enormous drug bust at one of the neighboring houses- I’m talking 20 cop cars, drug-sniffing dogs, and what looked to be a couple of arrests. I usually don’t have too many complaints about the neighborhood, and there are usually plenty of cops patrolling at night. I can’t speak for the neighborhood other than my block, but only that one incident last year has caught my attention.

  • Thanks for calling attention to the misuse of the word “gentleman”. A little PC here and there doesn’t hurt, but if a fellow is being accused of stealing, I think we can all agree that it’s okay to call him a “suspect” or an “individual” until we get better evidence of his nobility.

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