RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) -- A search is on for three men seen on surveillance video breaking into a Ramona medical marijuana shop and getting away with at least $300,000 worth of cannabis products.
When shop owner Clarice Cioe walked into Releaf Meds on Saturday morning, she discovered a mess. The serene outdoor landscaping was a stark difference to the chaos indoors.
"If you look over here, the shelves were completely full," Cioe said. "So they must've hit the side first and cleaned it out."
Just before 5 a.m. on Dec. 14, surveillance cameras caught a dark-colored Kia sedan pulling into the parking lot. Moments later, three hooded men walked outside. Two of them used a crowbar to break the electrical boxes and doors while one of them stood as the lookout. The video clearly shows the lookout man, wearing a hoodie with a distinct tribal pattern. After the thieves cut the power, the surveillance video stopped recording.
"These folks obviously knew what they were doing," Cioe said. "I don't know what to call them. I want to say punks. We worked so hard for this, and they come and not only take from us, but they take from the patients."
Cioe and her husband Anthony opened the shop last December. They said their customer is, on average, 60 years old.
"Cancer patients, Parkinson's, PTSD; these people rely on us," Cioe said.
Because of the burglary, they said they have had to turn away several patients experiencing pain. They are now left with a $300,000 loss and a store busted from the inside out. Not only that, they can't even pay their employees.
"All our security guards, they're all vets, and their paychecks and all their money was in our safe," Cioe said.
The thieves did not gain access to the safe, but they damaged it so severely that it no longer will open.
"We got the holidays, and now we have to figure out how to get them paid,” Cioe said.
By sharing their surveillance footage, Cioe hopes someone recognizes the thieves and alerts police.
"It is what it is, and we're trying to do our best," Cioe said.
The owners said they are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.