Sebastopol pair suspected of stealing power to grow pot
Two Sebastopol residents were arrested on suspicion of bypassing their home’s utility meter to take power worth an estimated $30,000 for growing medical marijuana.
Sebastopol police served Daniel Lee Phillips, 49, and Cherrone Silverman, 42, with $10,000 arrest warrants Tuesday night for utility fraud. They were released after posting bail, according to jail records.
“Even if the medical marijuana-growing is not prosecutable, it still has to be done in a way that’s safe,” Police Chief Jeff Weaver said. “These people bypassed building code regulations and stole power from PG&E.”
Last September, Sebastopol police received complaints from neighbors that a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the pair’s Hayden Avenue home, Weaver said. Neighbors also said a large number of people were coming in and out of the residence.
Police raided the home and found 75 marijuana plants in a modified garage behind the home, Weaver said. Phillips and Silverman told police that they housed the plants for medical use as part of a marijuana-growing collective.
They showed police marijuana recommendations from doctors for themselves and for six other people.
But the couple had rigged the garage’s electrical system to get power directly from a nearby utility pole.
“They endangered the health and safety of the community,” Weaver said. “If the house had caught on fire the whole neighborhood would have been screwed up.”
Phillips and Silverman are to be arraigned Monday.
By JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 5:52 p.m.
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