How to deal with theft.
I HATE to even have to write this article, but the reality is no matter how well you attempt to secure and monitor your garden… There is always someone willing to risk their own safety in attempts to beat your security and rip you off of your hard work and much needed crop. It doesn’t matter if it is your first year or twentieth year growing, at some point we all get visited by “Ripper’s” (the thieves who come in and steal your plants at the end of flower). This article is not on prevention, but more focused on the aftershock of the event. As shitty as it is, the truth is you must chalk this up to the cost of growing high potency Cannabis outside. Unless you have CLEAR VIDEO EVIDENCE, the Police will take a report number on a legal garden and now you are on their radar as a problem address in the future as well as a production site.
If you feel you know who the thief or thieves were, you have a good chance at getting it wrong. Besides if you act in violence or revenge against them, now you are the one in more serious trouble. The sad reality is unless you catch a thief in the act red handed on your property at the time of the theft and street justice is not dealt out swift and heavy, you have no recourse of action on a legal outside grow (and even worse is illegal or inside a dwelling or building).
Once ripped off it is a very violating feeling. The ultimate discovery of an invasion into your garden is quite heart breaking. It can be a real shock to your system depending on the damage and even a traumatic event. It is not a good feeling to know that your place of solitude and safety has been shattered all at once by an unknown entity. Feeling physically sick is normal, you may even feel dizzy. The bond we form with our plants over the months grows very strong unbeknownst to us as caretakers and when you find your prized plants ravaged it will be a very strong wave of emotion that hits you all at once.
What to do next? Some will totally shut down and neglect any other plants fearing it just isn’t worth their time and effort anymore. This too is normal, I like to compare it to a mourning period for a pet or loved one. The next few weeks you will be filled with anger, sadness, anxiety and a range of other emotions. Keep in mind you can grow more if desired and they obviously cannot, which is why they took yours. Remember there are no losses in this game, only lessons and everyone will eventually run into this unfortunately. Even in legal times, the lure to profit or enjoy the literal fruits of one’s labor is too much for most people to pass on.
Some will continue on unfazed and add additional security measures like cameras, motion detecting lights, Apps that will notify your phone of movement in the garden, even dogs to patrol the shop or yard. Most will stop there but an extreme few will booby trap their plants and/or gardens. I would advise you to be extremely careful if this is the route you choose as more often than not family pets, yourself or loved ones will set off the traps. If police ever came across your traps or worse were caught in them… Criminal charges would come down on you even though you were protecting your own property in most areas of the world.
My advice is once ripped off, MOVE! You are now a target for a break in, home invasion or targeted for next year if you attempt another crop outside in the same location. Cut your losses and find a new spot with no heat on it and continue your lifestyle. This maybe extreme and not possible for people who own and have invested in their properties, but for renters, Move!
After being ripped off, watch for routines of neighbor’s and friends changing. Is there now avoidance or people calling everyday fishing for news?! These can be dead giveaways. Did someone in debt suddenly become flush with money? Did someone you usually support with product suddenly fall off the face of the earth? These aren’t foolproof ways of determining a suspect, but it sure narrows down the list quickly. Speaking of a list, you should keep a mental list of every person who ever learns of where you grow or that has seen your plants. This way you can narrow down a list of suspects quickly but you must always remember to account for the unknown factor, someone who has seen what you have been up to or wandered into your garden site. People use drones, hand held FLIR units and their nose when out hunting for gardens and some just get lucky. This year alone I myself have spotted quite a few plants and gardens from my dog walks and country drives. It’s just that easy for thieves to find gardens to rip these days as Cannabis is becoming more accepted and legalized. Keep your heads up and remember the life cycle of a Cannabis plant can be as short as 4 months for photoperiod seeds and less than 90 days for some of the auto’s. Keep going and keep learning, do not let the passion be stolen from as well as that is the way they will win.