November 18, 2010
Three Fort Carson soldiers had a perfectly good explanation for allegedly breaking into a pot dispensary in Colorado Springs early Saturday.
It was a public service.
“We were just trying to get rid of all the marijuana,” Pfc. Ramone Hollins told officers after the trio were arrested inside Rocky Road Remedies at 2489 S. Academy Blvd. on the city’s southeast side, according to an arrest affidavit.
Hollins, 22, Pfc. Darius Thomas, 23, and Pvt. Cory Young, 22, were arrested on suspicion of second-degree burglary after police say they accidentally locked themselves inside the dispensary during a burglary-gone-bad.
Officers freed the men and they were booked into El Paso County jail, each on a $10,000 bond.
All three soldiers were in the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, an attack helicopter unit at Fort Carson.
Hollins is detailed to human resources, Young is an Apache mechanic and Thomas is a unit supply specialist, service records show. None had served in combat.
Colorado Springs police Officer Joseph Langlais said in the arrest affidavit that police were on an unrelated call at a neighboring business just after 2 a.m. when they heard someone banging on glass inside the pot dispensary.
The dispensary had closed for the night, police said.
While several officers guarded the front, Langlais went around to the back and saw that the door knob had been knocked from the door and was lying on the ground, leaving a large hole.
Through the hole, Langlais said he saw a “dark-colored finger” poking at the dead bolt, which had apparently re-engaged in the door jamb after the break-in.
“I announced ‘Police!’ at which time the finger quickly retracted into the business and I immediately heard at least two voices screaming profanities,” he wrote.
After being arrested, two of the suspects told officers they broke in with the best of intentions: They were going to steal the marijuana not to sell or smoke but to destroy it, Langlais said.
The store owner, Renze Waddington, said the men were inside for a matter of minutes and didn’t have a chance to take anything before they were detected. The store’s marijuana and cash were secured in a safe, he said.
Surveillance footage showed the trio running from one end of the store to another “like rats in a maze” after realizing police were outside, Waddington said.
A drilling hammer and two chisels were among the burglary tools found outside the back entrance, police said.
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