ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police are in search of a group of men that ran a car into a cannabis store on Vandeventer in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood early Thursday morning.
Luxury Leaf, which held its grand opening in February, drilled and boarded up its front doors after the group attempted to break into the store.
According to a report, officers received calls for “Shots Fired” in the 1500 block of Tower Grove and a “Burglary Alarm” at 3:45 a.m.
The preliminary investigation revealed two men, who were at an auto shop next door, heard a loud crash at the store and witnessed a blue Hyundai back into the entrance of the store, damaging its doors.
The men also observed a Silver Chrysler 300 and a dark-colored car at the scene.
Suspects in both cars fired several shots at the two men, striking only their cars.
They fled in their vehicles and got away, according to the report.
5 On Your Side has covered several break-ins like this across the St. Louis region recently.
Sources familiar with the trend say the same group of thieves has struck at least a dozen times at shops across the region.
At first, it was mostly broken windows and doors and now three shops have seen cars go through them.
Here's footage from some stores that have been burglarized across St. Louis and St. Louis County.
Greenlight Dispensary has been hit four times this month at multiple locations and has caught the thieves on surveillance making unsuccessful attempts.
They began to put up concrete barriers to stop the criminals from the latest trend of “smashing and grabbing.”
“We want people to feel safe to shop in Missouri. The whole reason of having stores is a safe place for them to go and all they are doing is disrupting business is making us sweep up glass till 2 in the morning until we can open up the next day for our patients," said Tom B, part owner.
Joe Patterson, a former police officer who helps marijuana companies find ways to keep their stores safe, advised them to always make security a priority.
"The security needs to be a huge underlying force in all the business operations because it is an industry that's being targeted,” Patterson said.
Patterson added while the industry is new, criminals should take warning.
“We are taking extraordinary measures to harden our facilities and we want it to be known that these aren't worthwhile crimes to commit," he said.
Anyone with information about the incidents, the suspects, or the vehicles is asked to call Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS. Reporters can remain anonymous.