Tue | Mar 31, 2020

Thief steals $145K in cash from marijuana money courier in California

Published:Saturday | January 18, 2020 | 12:44 PM
AP photo

SANTA ANA, California (AP) — A man stole $145,000 in cash from a marijuana money courier’s unmarked van at a Southern California gas station after the driver collected the proceeds from several dispensaries, authorities said Friday.

Because the US government still outlaws marijuana, even in legal states like California, it is mostly an all-cash business because of federal banking laws.

Santa Ana police released surveillance footage from the gas station and asked for the public’s help to identify the suspect.

After the courier had walked into the gas station, the thief smashed the van’s passenger window with an object and grabbed two satchels full of cash from the center console area, Santa Ana police Anthony Bertagna told The Associated Press.

The man then got back into a Nissan Pathfinder’s passenger seat and drove away.

Bertagna said the van was locked at the time, but he didn’t know if it had a safe inside or had reinforced glass or other security features.

Santa Ana police typically get reports of dispensaries being burglarised for cash, Bertagna said.

He did not know of any cases in Santa Ana where a courier had cash stolen from a van.

Authorities will be looking into whether similar crimes have been perpetrated elsewhere in the region, Bertagna said.

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