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Burglars take marijuana plants in lieu of back rent
Three people have been arrested on charges of burglarizing a Port Orchard home of medicinal marijuana plants and a 2008 Honda Pilot.
Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputies on Sunday arrested 34-year-old Michele Garcia and 47-year-old Ramon Estrella, Jr., for residential burglary and manufacturing marijuana after they admitted to stealing the pot plants from the Port Orchard residence.
They were later released.
After further investigation, two more men, 56-year-old Kevin Wayne Stead and 40 year-old David Joseph Vance, were arrested on residential burglary charges and are being held at Kitsap County Jail.
Their bail was originally set at $50,000 a piece, but was later reduced to $5,000 and $15,000, respectively, after their preliminary hearing.
Deputies were dispatched to a call involving a vehicle theft on the 7400 block of Ebbert Drive on July 25 at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Upon arrival deputies contacted the victim, a 48-year-old male, who told them he had just returned with his family from a camping trip when he noticed his 2008 Honda Pilot was missing from in front of his home.
The victim explained that the Honda is his work vehicle and is owned by Web Integrity, Inc.
According to KCSO reports, when the victim’s family members arrived home from their trip, they observed an unfamiliar vehicle in the driveway parked where the Honda had been when they left.
Family members told deputies as soon as they parked and exited their vehicle, the rear hatch on the suspect’s vehicle was shut and it sped out of the driveway.
They witnessed two males and a female in the vehicle before it left.
Family members also discovered a box of items next to the house that appeared to have been left by the suspects.
The box contained miscellaneous kitchen utensils and numerous receipts, including a receipt from Kitsap County Superior Court.
All of the receipts had Stead’s name on them.
The victim also noticed 15 marijuana plants and growing equipment missing out of his locked shed.
The plants were used for medicinal purposes, for which the victim showed deputies proper documentation.
Deputies then contacted Stead, owner of the Hyundai Sonata that was seen at the victim’s home on the 1500 block of Snyder Avenue in Bremerton.
Stead denied having any involvement in the burglary and told deputies he had loaned the Sonata to Estrella and Garcia.
Deputies noted that there was a large “fifth-wheel” trailer on the property next to house, which had the front door chained and padlocked.
The suspect said the trailer belonged to the owner of the property, David Vance.
Deputies then proceeded to the residence of Estrella and Garcia where, after questioning, they obtained a confession regarding the stolen marijuana plants but insisted they did not take the Honda.
They said Stead had let them borrow his Sonata and had taken them to a house somewhere in Port Orchard, where they both participated in stealing marijuana plants and growing equipment.
Estrella explained that Stead had told him about a house where the renter hadn’t paid rent in six months and they could steal marijuana plants there.
Stead then allegedly drove the couple out to the house, where they stole the plants and growing equipment and loaded them into Stead’s vehicle.
Estrella was apologetic to deputies for stealing the plants and blamed his financial situation on an injury that caused him to not be able to work and support his family.
Deputies then placed Estrella and Garcia in custody and transported them to jail, where they were both booked for residential burglary and manufacturing marijuana.
Once at the jail, Garcia advised deputies she was told by Stead that Vance, who owns the property on Snyder Avenue, had stolen a car from the house the day before they took the marijuana plants.
Garcia’s three children were released to her adult son and family friends.
A search warrant for Estrella and Garcia’s home yielded 11 marijuana plants, one grow light shield with sodium halide bulb, one electronic ballast, and one oscillating fan in a locked bedroom closet.