Two marijuana grows busted at same Riverside home in less than a year

Rob McMillan Image
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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Residents of a Riverside neighborhood are furious over a home that was busted for an illegal marijuana grow because the same property was raided for the same thing just eight months earlier.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- People who live on Hebron Court in the Orangecrest neighborhood in Riverside are furious over a home that was the recent target of police because of an illegal marijuana grow operation.

But what makes them more upset is that this isn't the first time it's happened. The prior renters were busted for operating an illegal marijuana grow just eight months ago.

"It's a little suspicious," said Pete Fox who lives just down the street from the home. "One time maybe it happened. But two times right in a row? C'mon, give me a break."

Pictures released by the Riverside police department show an elaborate grow operation, despite the fact the plants destroyed this time were very young.

Chemicals piled up throughout the house. Rooms filled with young marijuana plants. Makeshift electrical work allowing the perpetrators to bypass the electric meter.

Just like the illegal activity neighbors spotted earlier this month, the activity they noticed in late 2018 was very secretive.

"They were backing into the garage, they were keeping everything under key, and they would come and go under darkness," said Fox. "It was kind of suspicious."

During the December 2018 raid, no one was home at the time, and hundreds of plants were destroyed. During the raid earlier this month, two people at the home were issued misdemeanor citations for theft of utilities and the illegal harvesting of marijuana plants.

But neighbors aren't just concerned about the inherent dangers of living next door to a home with potentially unsafe wiring and so many unknown chemicals.

"What's going to happen when word gets out that pot houses are allowed to be on this street," said neighbor Diane Kwasman.

Riverside police claim that quite often illegal marijuana grow operations can become the target of other, more violent criminals.

"A lot of them are quiet for a while," said Riverside police officer Ryan Railsback. "But what if another criminal who's a competitor (finds) out about it, and commits some violence against this house that's in the middle of a nice neighborhood?"

Riverside County records indicate the home is owned by Invitation Homes, a property management company whose website claims to offer "high-quality homes for lease in desirable neighborhoods across America."

A company spokesperson issued a statement to Eyewitness News in response to our request for comment:

"Invitation Homes is committed to being a good neighbor in every community where we own homes. We conduct background checks, including criminal checks, prior to entering into lease agreements, with the safety and security of our residents, their neighbors, and our associates in mind.

"Background checks on the Hebron Court residents did not indicate criminal records. In addition, our leases explicitly outline the requirement that residents maintain a crime-free home. We share the neighbors' concern about the issues that have occurred in this home, and we are continuing to work with authorities as they investigate this matter."