The person who set up a bed of screws to protect a marijuana grow operation, seriously injuring a Wyoming police officer, might face charges if prosecutors can find a criminal statute that applies.
It’s harder than they thought. Existing law covering booby-traps addresses spring-loaded devices and explosives, but apparently not a bed of nails or screws on private property, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said.
“We are looking into it, but it’s not something that’s readily apparent,’’ Becker said.
And that has Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody calling for change.
“I think anytime you set a trap of any sort that can cause harm or injury, it should be prohibited,’’ Carmody said Tuesday. “We have warnings on mice traps, but this is something we don’t have a law on the book on? It kind of defies gravity as far as I’m concerned.’’
Wyoming officer Dustin Cook was investigating an early Sunday break-in at a medical marijuana grow site when he scaled a gate to reach a broken window. On the other side was a sheet of plywood with more than 100 three-inch, threaded decking screws pointing upward. Both of his feet were impaled.
“He had three of these things go into his feet,’’ Carmody said, holding a decking screw. “One in one heel and two in the other foot. One went through the center of his foot and did some damage to one of the tendons.’’
Events that led to Cook’s injuries unfolded about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when Wyoming officers responded to an alarm at a licensed medical marijuana grow operation on Clay Avenue north of 54th Street SW.
When officers arrived, they encountered two men inside the gray brick building. They entered by breaking a rear window, police said. Both were dressed in black with their faces covered. The pair fled; police gave chase.
The first to be caught was 19-year-old Tyquan K. Hassel of Kentwood. Police say he tossed a handgun during the pursuit.
His alleged accomplice, Andre D. Sims, also 19, made it a bit farther. Police had to chase him across Buck Creek. When officers caught up with Sims, he was on a cellphone and overheard saying “they got me,’’ court records show.
Both are charged with breaking and entering a building, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Hassel is also charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a five-year felony. They are due back in Wyoming District Court Feb. 22 for a probable cause hearing.
“The two individuals we caught coming out of that building obviously knew what was in there,’’ Carmody said. “They went in to get (marijuana) and they were going to sell it on the street.’’
Police found an elaborate marijuana grow operation; more than 90 mature plants were found, investigators said. That exceeds the amount the licensed marijuana caregiver was authorized to have.
Carmody says he is mystified why the grower felt the need to use a bed of screws when the building had a working alarm system.
“We responded to that alarm,’’ Carmody said. “Did they not think that we might not walk around the perimeter of that building to try to access the building? For some reason, the moron that put it down there didn’t quite make that connection.’’
Officer Cook, a six-year veteran, is in a lot of pain, the chief said.
“I was very angry; and when I went to the hospital I was even more angry,’’ Carmody said. “He’s a good officer, a hard-working officer and he’s been taken out of the field because of this idiot’s work.’’
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