Anyone with information about the hundreds of pot plants stolen from the former Farmington Highway Department's salt shed at the intersection of High Street and Route 2/Farmington Falls Road is asked to call police at 778-6311.
FARMINGTON – Police are asking for help in finding hundreds of confiscated marijuana plants and the person who stole them from a locked town building late Tuesday or early Wednesday, Farmington police Chief Jack Peck said Friday.
Maine Drug Enforcement agents and other law enforcement officers seized 1,029 pot plants from Phillips and Township 6 North of Weld on Tuesday. Tad T. Smith, 35, and his father, Joseph Smith, 64, both of Phillips, were charged with cultivating marijuana.
The plants were being stored temporarily in the town's former salt shed at the intersection of High Street and Route 2, which law enforcement officers sometimes use to lock up evidence. Most of the plants were stolen, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Farmington police used the building to store tires, traffic cones and a police bike, Peck said. Those items have since been removed to another location.
Peck said the pot theft occurred between 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said he received a call from a state fire investigator Wednesday morning to ask if some items could be stored in the shed.
Peck and fire investigator Edward Hastings went to the building at about 9:30 a.m. and discovered that someone had pried open one of two garage doors, entered the building and stole an undisclosed number of plants, Peck said.
The doors could only be opened by a garage-door opener that police have in their possession at all times, he said.
Peck alerted the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and police called in Trooper Scott Dalton and his tracking dog. No viable scent could be picked up because of the rain that fell overnight, he said.
Farmington Detective Marc Bowering, Peck and a drug agent went door to door in the area to see if anyone had seen anything. They turned up no marijuana plants and no suspects, Peck said.
Farmington police are investigating the burglary and theft, assisted by drug agents and state police.
Due to the theft, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency will review its policy on where they store evidence, McCausland said.
Peck said he would ask the Board of Selectmen to install a security system at the building, which is on the former site of the town's public works garage.
“I don't know if we'll ever use the building again,” Peck said. “It's been compromised.”