Editor’s note: Following is an updated version of a story that was posted on the Irrigator’s website on Sunday, Dec. 29.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department Monday morning released the mugshots of the three suspects arrested in the attempted robbery at the legal marijuana facility on Fig Avenue over the weekend.
The on-site security guard called for law enforcement about 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, after spotting intruders on the facility’s surveillance cameras. At least 12 people were observed, Sgt. Josh Clayton said. “The security guard was smart,” he said, and watched them on the cameras until law enforcement arrived.
The robbery attempt drew a massive law enforcement response, with as many as 40 officers from Patterson Police Services, the Sheriff’s Department, the SWAT team and Ceres PD on scene, working the perimeter and searching the gated compound, Clayton said. Deputies spent the remainder of the night searching for the suspects over a wide area (the compound is surrounded by orchards).
Fire chiefs Jon Schali and Don Armario ended up getting involved in the incident, as did a local tow truck driver. (Please see accompanying article for an interview with the tow truck driver and Chief Armario.)
Chief Schali confronted one of the suspects on his front porch.
The tow truck driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, became involved when the suspect that was on Schali’s porch jumped into his truck in an attempt to escape.
Chief Armario, after receiving a call from Schali about the suspect on his porch, returned to the incident scene to assist Schali if necessary, and intervened in the potential hostage situation by confronting the suspect in the tow truck.
Fire Chief Jon Schali, who lives in the area, said he woke up to “red and blue lights” in his front yard at about 2 a.m. He went to find out what was going on, and was advised to shelter in place, he said.
“We saw shadows of officers coming out of the orchard into the street,” Schali said, “there was officers everywhere. My dogs were going crazy all night,” because there were so many people around.
Around 8 a.m., deputies searched his yard, as well as his neighbor’s, and the surrounding orchard. It looked like they were clearing the area, he said, when “a man comes walking up to my door, very suspicious,” adding that he “did not fit the area.” He asked the man to get on the ground. The man said his car had broken down and he needed a tow.
“I don’t know what’s going on… I didn’t know what had taken place; didn’t know if he was armed or unarmed,” Schali said, “my whole goal was to make sure my family stayed safe.”
A tow truck that had been called for a law enforcement vehicle showed up, and the man “decided to take off,” Schali said, and got into it. He subsequently got out of the tow truck on his own when some of the officers arrived back on the scene, and was detained.
No one was injured in the incident.
Two AK-47s, one AR-15 and at least three handguns were recovered, Clayton said.
Police believe this attempted robbery may be linked to similar thefts and attempted thefts in the area, Sgt. Clayton said, but nothing has been confirmed as yet.
Arrested were Joshua Hawkins-Butler, 26, of Oakland, on charges of robbery, conspiracy, possession of sawed-off shotgun, felon in possession of a weapon, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of assault weapon. Bail has been set at $1,635,000.
Kenneth Duckett, 33, of San Francisco, was arrested on charges of robbery and conspiracy. Bail has been set at $1,500,000.
Khari Moore, 21, of Stockton, was arrested on charges of are robbery and conspiracy. Bail has been set at $1,500,000.
All three suspects were shown as being in custody as of late morning on Monday, Dec. 30.