Thieves snatch pot, torch building - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thieves snatch pot, torch building

August 22, 2007

Georgetown -- Nearly 400 marijuana plants seized in a drug bust were stolen from law enforcement officers in Georgetown Tuesday night.

The thieves not only got away with $380,000 dollars worth of dope, they also burned the building where it was being stored.

The daring theft and fire happened right next to the sheriff's office, and so far no one has been arrested.

GBI and State Arson Investigators were in Quitman County Wednesday where hundreds of confiscated marijuana plans were missing and a fire apparently set to cover the tracks of the thieves.

"It would've been sometime very late last night, early this morning. The GBI was notified right about daybreak," said GBI Special Agent In Charge Mike Lewis.

The fire was set during the night and burned itself out before it was discovered at dawn Wednesday.

The former Georgetown Police station served partly as an evidence storage location for the Quitman County Sheriff's Office. The two agencies had previously consolidated. The 380 pot plants seized last week were stored there prior to the thefts.

"They were holding the plants until they could destroy them which I think was planned for sometime this week. Sometime last night, someone broke into the place. I suspect their motive was to steal the marijuana plants, then set fire to the building to cover up their theft. They were unsuccessful but, I think that was the idea."

While the GBI is still investigating the case, authorities do say that they have some suspects that could be behind the potential arson that occurred here last night.

"Well we have some evidence. I don't know if we're real close to making an arrest, but we have suspects and we're working diligently on this with the Quitman County Sheriff's Office.

While whoever grew the marijuana would be likely suspects in the theft and fire, it was public knowledge that the plants were confiscated last week, and anyone could figure out where the dope was stored.

Investigators think the arsonists used gasoline to the set the fire.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=ArsonTheft-CF

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