Police Bureau’s Plane Helps Nab Teen Weed Burglars

Portland cops are showing off their effort to track down the kids behind a dispensary crime spree.

Portland police used one of their two single-engine Cessnas to round up three teenagers suspected of breaking in to a string of cannabis dispensaries in Southeast Portland in the early hours of Nov. 21.

The spree began at 1:30 am, when the teens pulled up to a Nectar location on Southeast Woodstock Boulevard in a stolen car. They grabbed some weed and fled in a second getaway car. Within the next two hours, they hit two more dispensaries, driving their stolen silver Kia Soul into the doors of the second before fleeing.

AIR1, a Portland police “air support unit,” was tracking the car from above, and police pulled it over shortly afterward. The three kids, all between the ages of 14 and 15, were booked in the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home.

The chase shows police deploying resources to crack down on burglaries and armed robberies that have plagued cannabis shopkeepers for two years (“Grass at Gunpoint,” WW, July 27).

Police Chief Chuck Lovell praised the effort, noting that cops “were able to record video of the capture, which is being provided as an illustration of our officers’ great work and [the air support unit’s] value as a tool in fighting crime.”

The provided four-minute video was shot with an infrared camera and uploaded to YouTube. It shows the teens hiding behind a shed, tossing the bag of loot over the fence, and then running—all as the plane radios their location to officers on the ground.