North Bay home invasion robbery suspects at large

Joanna Estrada
March 13, 2018

Sonoma County sheriff's SWAT unit late Monday morning continued checking homes and searching the hills west of Highway 101 in Novato for five "armed and dangerous" suspects behind multiple marijuana-related home invasions in Petaluma.

In the pre-dawn raid, the suspects parked by an antique shop on Bodega Avenue, walked down nearby Petersen Lane and kicked down a fence to get onto the property before kicking in the doors of three homes, said Warren Percell, who owns an art studio at the intersection of Bodega Avenue and Eugenia Drive.

At least one homeowner reported being tied up and being pistol whipped, the sheriff said. Police said they were in search of marijuana, but it turns out the homes they targeted were not growing marijuana at all. "When they were leaving, Petaluma police noticed two vehicles leaving the area, they tried to a traffic stop on them, and then went on a vehicle pursuit", he said. Authorities found multiple firearms inside. One person, also considered "armed and unsafe", got away and remains at large.

The second auto was found in the Novato Costco parking lot.

Officers set up a perimeter and SWAT teams are searching the area for those suspects. Five suspects fled from the minivan and an intense manhut was concentrated at the Fireman's Fund in Novato at 777 San Marin Drive.

At 7:20 a.m. police asked residents in the area of Wood Hollow shelter in place until further notice because the suspects are considered "armed and unsafe".

The Sheriff's Office has yet to release the identities of the suspects, but it confirmed some of them were from North Carolina.

The sheriff's spokesperson said this kind of home invasion robberies targeting marijuana grows is part of a trend in California since the legalization of recreational pot.

"The price has gone way down. It's cheap, it's easy to get and there's a lot of it", said Crum. "They can rip it off here in California and take it across state lines to sell it in different states where it's illegal and make two to three times the profit".

Police lifted the shelter in place at around 12:45 p.m. One suspect was located during the search.

Police said the four outstanding suspects - described as four adult black males in dark clothing - appeared to have left the area. Instead she called the police. No one was shot, unlike two February 8 pot-related home invasions outside Santa Rosa where one man was killed and another wounded.

One of the men was arrested after he knocked on a Novato woman's door around 6 a.m. and asked her to call an Uber for him, Crum said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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