Stanislaus County sheriff’s detectives are looking into whether a robbery at a Patterson cannabis business is related to other similar incidents recently.
At about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, a dozen armed and masked suspects stormed the facility, ransacking it and grabbing up bags of processed marijuana, said sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Clayton. Meanwhile, a guard locked himself in one of the rooms and called for help, he said.
As sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, the suspects left in multiple vehicles, some tossing marijuana and weapons, Clayton said.
He said two AK-47s rifles, an AR-15 rifle and at least three handguns were recovered from the scene.
Two suspects were caught trying to leave law enforcement’s perimeter and a third was found more than six hours later after he unsuccessfully demanded a ride from a tow truck driver, then wandered onto a property where he was held at gunpoint by an off-duty Patterson firefighter until deputies arrived, Clayton said.
Joshua Hawkins-Butler, 26, of Oakland; Kenneth Duckett, 33, of San Francisco; and Khari Moore, 21, of Stockton were arrested on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy.
The man caught by the firefighter, Hawkins-Butler, left a vehicle registered to him at the facility, Clayton said. The AR-15 was in the vehicle and he was seen on video holding it, so he also faces additional weapons charges, Clayton said.
Detectives are working to identify the other suspects and determine if the robbery was connected to an incident at the facility on Dec. 20 in which a security guard was pistol-whipped, as well as a burglary at a dispensary in the town of Crows Landing the same night as the robbery and two burglaries at a cannabis business in Vernalis over the last few months.