Sebastopol home robbery cannabis-related, authorities say

Investigators continued to search Monday for a group of armed men who burst into a Sebastopol home before dawn in search of money and marijuana.

No one has been arrested for the 2:15 a.m. Saturday robbery on the 1400 block of Big Plum Drive, Sonoma County sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Deputies believe the home invasion was marijuana-related, Sgt. Spencer Crum said. The victim claimed the robbers intended to steal cannabis, authorities said Saturday. No other details of the investigation were available Monday.

Gunshots were fired as four men in two sedans drove away into the night with an undisclosed amount of money and drugs, Crum said.

There have been no cannabis-related permits sought for the property, and no related complaints or enforcement actions, Permit Sonoma spokeswoman Maggie Fleming said.

Crum said his agency has received five calls to the Big Plum Drive home since 2014, though he did not provide specific information about the nature of those calls. A number of probation-related searches were also conducted because an unspecified person registered to that home is on probation, he said.

Tall trees and manicured lawns line the streets of the quiet, leafy south Sebastopol neighborhood well-loved by its residents. Caryn Naiditch, who has lived there since 1986, said she’s frightened by the violence in the otherwise quiet area.

“Except for a few vandalisms, we’ve never had a problem,” said Naiditch, who was out of town when the home invasion took place. “An armed robbery home invasion is really, really scary. I never thought it would happen in our neighborhood.”

Other longtime neighbors say it’s one of the best neighborhoods in Sebastopol and they’re not worried.

“I don’t think it’s going to change the neighborhood much at all,” said Linda St. George, a neighbor and homeowner who slept through the gunshots on Saturday. “I love living here. It’s a great neighborhood.”

The Big Plum Drive home robbery is the seventh in the Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction to be hit with a cannabis-related break-in, Crum said.

Early last month, two robbers stormed a Primrose Drive home on the southwestern outskirts of Santa Rosa, tied up two occupants at gunpoint and made off with cannabis. Ruben Hernandez, 33, of Miami, was arrested in connection with the incident, and a warrant is out for Mario Gonzalez, 33, said Misti Harris, spokeswoman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

On March 12, eight suspects kicked down the doors of three homes on Eugenia Drive, a small private street outside Petaluma, demanding cash and pot. One man was pistol whipped, but no cannabis was found and nothing else was taken, authorities said at the time.

All eight suspects were arrested and last month pleaded not guilty in federal court to five criminal counts, including conspiracy, attempted robbery and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Abraham Simmons said after the May 2 hearing. They will still face charges in Sonoma County, Chief Deputy District Attorney Troye Shaffer said in May.

In a separate Feb. 8 incident off Todd Road, family members at a home off Melcon Way home were tied up by masked intruders seeking pot and cash. They shot and killed the homeowner, Jose Luis Torres, 54, the owner of a local appliance repair business, and took weapons from the home. Deputies observed evidence of cannabis cultivation and sales at the house.

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