Sonoma County hit by series of drug related home invasion burglaries

Sonoma County, beset by drug-related home invasions, is investigating a seventh incident. Shots were fired in the normally quiet Lone Pine Village subdivision off of Gravenstein Highway, outside Sebastopol. In what has become a familiar scenario, armed robbers were on the hunt for marijuana and cash. 

"It's scary when you have your grandkids and kids here," said Lene Prior, who lives next door to the targeted house in the 1400 block of Big Plum Drive. 

Prior says the house has been a trouble spot since a tenant moved in. 

"t's been worrisome for a couple of years," said Prior, "late-night noise, visitors, fights, even a bloody brawl."

Saturday, 2 a.m., was something different.

"We heard the cars going back and forth, and then pop, pop, pop, pop, pop," described Prior. 

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department says one robber entered the house through a window, and opened a back door to let three others in. All the while, someone was inside the house asleep.

"This person was awakened by four men, armed with handguns," Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum told KTVU.

Then the resident, a man in his 30's, arrived home and was confronted by the armed men as they got away.  

"They took some shots at the victim, one or two rounds actually hit the windshield of his vehicle," said Crum.   

The men sped off with stolen cash, personal items, marijuana and other drugs.    

"The house wasn't just picked at random," said Crum, "and clearly they had some intelligence that there were marijuana sales at the house, so somebody had done their homework."

It fits a pattern in recent months: armed robbers, some traveling from out of state, barging into homes where they believe they will find marijuana and money. Sometimes they do, sometimes not.
Victims have been robbed and assaulted, and one man killed. Arrests have been made in some, but not all, of the incidents.

It's unclear how this case fits in, because little is known about the suspects. They're described only as four African American men in their 20's, in two cars, a light and dark colored sedan. 

"Well it's disconcerting to have bullets fired in your neighborhood, but there's gangs all over the county, and they shoot," said another neighbor Martin St. George. 

The St. George household, with four children, was closest to the gunfire.

"To me this seems like a one-off," said St. George, "and it doesn't seem like it's a big concern to me moving forward."  

Many neighbors have heard the victim is being evicted, and are hopeful he is clearing out. 

"Most of us have lived here thirty years, raised our families here, and it's our home," said Prior, "so we hope he's gone."

Detectives plan to interview the victim more thoroughly this week, and are reviewing home surveillance footage from the neighborhood.

Lone Pine Village is an enclave of about two dozen homes, in a woodsy, rural setting.