Another Fresno marijuana garden attracts thieves

FRESNO, Calif.

The suspect's dented van door shows the damage left from a collision with a utility pole Monday morning. Police say they left behind several marijuana plants in the van when they ran away.

This incident started minutes earlier when detectives say the group of men hopped the fence at a home nearby and stole the plants. As they were trying to get away someone from the home followed and gunfire ensued.

James Harris heard and saw the action from next door. "I was taking my kids to school. And all of a sudden we hear some gunshots. A van and a truck following another van shooting going around the corner."

Police aren't saying who fired the shots and no arrests have been made. This is the second time in less than a week gunfire has erupted over pot plants.

Last Wednesday a 40-year-old man suspected of stealing from a large backyard grow in Central Fresno ended up being shot in the head by a resident.

Stanley Wallace died two days later. The escalating violence is prompting the city and county of Fresno to consider taking immediate action this week to stop the outdoor cultivation of pot, even if it's for medical use.

The Board of Supervisors so far have the support of the Fresno Sheriff's Deputies Association.

Eric Schmidt said, "Something has to be done. We can't keep allowing these outdoor grows."

Association President Eric Schmidt says if things don't change soon -- deputies who patrol rural county areas will be in serious danger. "Especially if it's a nighttime call we go up there and there's people guarding these groves thinking that we're a criminal when we're the deputy and you're going to have an unfortunate situation."

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the emergency ordinance Tuesday. The city council, Thursday.

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