WARNING: We do not recommend confronting robbers due to the extreme danger you may encounter.
Armed robbery is a new term for the hemp industry. Unfortunately for Tracy, his worst nightmares are coming true in his fields as he battles a slew of petty and organized criminals targeting his crops. Little did Tracy know that a chance encounter with thieves would end in automatic weapons, gunfire and the Aryan Brotherhood. We want to share the story of our friend and client as a means to
help raise awareness and to help you protect your farm and your own well being. Fortunately, Tracy was not injured in this encounter, but we hope you join us in sending well wishes to him, his crop, and family.
Tracy Lehman is one of the few USDA certified hemp farmers in the United States. His roadside field was planted in June with no problems until about 3 weeks ago when Tracy noticed that he was losing of a plant here and there every few days. Tracy figured that it was common knowledge that his field is Agricultural Hemp due to his involvement in his local municipality, but large green plants on the side of the road still attract a lot of attention.
Post signage with your Department of Agriculture certification clearly stating that you are farming hemp. We recommend investing in this signage, similar to “No Trespassing” signs.
People confuse hemp crops with medical Marijuana. Although your neighbors, friends and local population may know your crop, one misguided person can ruin your day. Ignorant individuals who think you are growing high THC Cannabis will spread the word, at which point their dreams of a jackpot are quickly spread through malicious channels.
“About 10 days ago, Friday, I noticed that someone had taken 25 plants – cut a block of the field,” said Tracy. Clearly theft was on the rise, being proactive Tracy setup video surveillance around the perimeter of his farm using game cameras, and linking the video feed back to his house. The plants grew to 6-7 feet tall, and more people started taking notice to it.
On alert, Tracy began to notice vehicles making multiple passes by his property, and later that night a suspicious minivan and pickup truck packed on the far end of his property and turned off their lights. Tracy hopped into into his truck to confront the thieves, as soon as he got in the truck, “they left quick.”
Surveillance – Install motion detecting cameras that instantly send you alerts when triggered. Some cameras (Ring, Nest, etc) allow you to alert trespassers by voice that you are aware of their presence and they are being recorded and the Police are en route.
Cameras that send you live alerts allow you to sleep without constantly watching video feeds. You have to sleep, and having the peace of mind that you are safe will allow that.
The next night Tracy sat in his truck all night. Several cars passed by, it’s pretty obvious that people were casing his field, “because you don’t go on this road late at night.” Little did tracy know that the stakes were going to become even more elevated.
On Monday morning, October 21st, Tracy was getting his daughter ready for her Grandpa to pick her up. This is when a white pickup truck and small gold car arrived on his farm. “They wasn’t a local, it didn’t look like the cars had tags – I knew something was up,” said Tracy.
Still in his PJs, he stuck his head out the door to look. “They must have had binoculars, because they were about 250 yards down, and as soon as I stuck my head out of the door, they started hollering to get outta here.” Tracy hopped into his truck and started to pursue the vandals at high speeds through the backroads of Tennessee. The thieves reached speeds in excess of 80MPh on the curving roads, “They got airborne and sideways, it’s amazing they are still alive.”
At one point, Tracy caught up to the truck, he figured if he could “Bump em easy, bump em off the road, they’d wreck and we could handle it from there. When I started closing in to do that, they come out the passenger window with a pistol and started firing. I backed off about 50 years, no way they were going to hit me. I’d follow em all the way to Nashville if I had to.”
The vandals turned off the highway, Tracy knew there was an elementary school down the road, “so [he] just stopped.” The truck put on their hazard lights and started honking, blowing through the school zone at 80 mph. It’s a miracle nobody was hurt. Tracy pulled up to the school and located a police officer on duty. He explained his situation and had the police search for the missing truck but unfortunately they got away.
Always have your cell phone on your person.
This is your most important weapon that allows you to contact help while maintaining a safe distance from potential thieves. Also, if you notice strange behaviour in or around your property, put the police on notice.
Due to Tracy’s surveillance, he got a picture of the car and van, but with no license plates, police stated that the vehicles were probably stolen. “We hit the next button, there are two guys standing in a field, leather vests with short sleeves, some sort of gang. The other guy is in a full body suit, like he was wearing body armor. One had an AR-15, the other had an AK-47 with a banana clip.”
At that point, the news starts calling. “The only thing I can figure is these guys thought it was some sort of medical Marijuana. I couldn’t understand some gang coming out here to get hemp. News channel 5 came out, and they put the guys pictures on TV. It got the word out that it’s not marijuana, rather it is a field of hemp, that we are on edge, we are scared, we are armed, and people need to stay out of the field.”
A few nights after the news aired, 6-8 vehicles rolled by the farm including a big red Chevy which pulled in and cut his lights off. At this point Tracy was dressed and ready, he alerted the police and then and he chased him up and down the creek.
“I blocked him in, and came out with my pistol out, and said,’hold on, what’s going on.’ Thank god he just turned around and he put on the gas. The cops got this one,” Tracy said with a sigh of relief.
Have a security plan of action.
Go through “what if’s” to ensure the safety of you and your family. What happens if you have someone come to your home? What if you leave your home and someone else is on watch? Be able to answer all of these questions, and be ready to outsmart and circumvent those who want to profit off of your hard work through crime and violence.
The police got a tip about someone who knew the guys, they looked into the lead found out they were all members of the Aryan Nation, and located their brotherhood gang house. Officers raided the home and found meth and hemp, they had the AR-15, and an AK-47 on the property as well.
Tracy sleeps a little easier now knowing those guys are off the streets. The police said “they had been smoking the heck out of the hemp, these guys thought they hit the jackpot and they thought they got full fledged MMJ plants.”
“We are not screwing around here, we are scared. I have 3 kids, my wife, and we have people with AK-47s in my field. Please tell people, do not get in my field, this isn’t playing around anymore. So with all that going on on, hopefully with the news, maybe it’ll slow down. But I’m still getting more cars,” Tracy said trepidatiously.
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