SONOMA COUNTY, Calif (KTVU) - An employee of a medical marijuana distributor was tied up and robbed at gunpoint as she left work Thursday evening, an episode that left her shaken but unhurt.
The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department responded to the Westwind Business Park near the Sonoma County Airport, after the woman, in her 30's, got herself free and called 911.
"They blocked her in, they came in behind her and kept her from leaving," Sgt. Spencer Crum, describing how the worker was the last to leave for the night, and saw the suspects' car approaching.
She hurried to her own vehicle, got in, locked the doors and started the engine, but the next thing she saw was a gun.
"They ordered her out of her car, and back into the business," explained Crum.
The men moved fast, canvassing the warehouse space, then forcing the woman at gunpoint, to open the vault, which they emptied of cash.
"They ended up binding her up with zip ties, with both her hands and her ankles, and ordered her to sit on the ground and not look at them."
Some neighboring tenants saw law enforcement respond.
"Really scary, I can't believe it happened so close to where I work," Andrew Anschutz told KTVU, outside the glass cutting business he works at.
"thought it was a raid or something, because I've heard that was a weed place, but I was not sure, I've heard rumors."
The company isn't a grow house; there are no plants. It handles processed packaged marijuana. Nor is there a retail storefront for people to buy cannabis products directly.
"It's an all cash business so there's a lot of cash sitting around," noted Sgt. Crum, "and this is a transport hub, arriving here in large quantities, broken up, and sent to different dispensaries in the Bay Area."
No one responded at any of the warehouse doors.
The business is completely anonymous, and riddled with security cameras and alarms, none of which spared the employee her ordeal.
"Anytime someone's got a gun pointed at them to steal something, we're concerned, compassionate, and we feel for this gal," added Crum, "but she handled it really well, shaken up, but I was very impressed by the way she took this."
The suspects' descriptions are vague: two African American men, wearing dark clothing, hoodies, and one in a mask. They drove a newer Honda, with tinted windows and paper license plates.
Surveillance video may be released at a later time, but for the safety of all the tenants, more caution may be merited.
"The biggest thing for this business would be for staff to close with a partner or a group of people, have a common closing time to walk out to your cars, and don't walk out alone,"cautioned Crum.