Mason marijuana dispute pits landlord, tenant

tenantriskverification October 2, 2012 0
by John Stressman


On Sept. 19 an officer responded to a landlord tenant dispute where he met with the property owners, their attorney and the two tenants. The building owners had become aware — after a criminal search warrant had been executed — that the lessees had been growing marijuana in the building, which had originally been leased as a construction business. The attorney had filed a 24-hour notice to terminate the lease and the owners changed the locks on the building. One of the lessees advised he had a license to grow the marijuana, the case was going to court and they were at the building to claim their business property. They alleged they had not been notified of the Notice to Quit and the lease was still valid. They then asserted a right to retrieve their property but couldn’t because of the new locks and they would be forced to break into the building to do so. Because both parties took on a hostile stance with each other, a second officer responded. It was eventually determined the matter was civil, there was no hold on the property because of the drug investigation and the officers would not advise anyone what to do as far as entering the premises. After this determination was made, one lessee took a sledge hammer and broke out the steel rods at the bottom of the garage door he had installed for security reasons. In the end, the owner and lessees came to terms and the officers cleared the scene.

The following is the full weekly report from the Mason police department.

Sept. 18

• A Mason landlord came to the department to make a late report of an illegal entry and possible malicious destruction of property to one of his unoccupied rental homes. He stated that in May he had discovered that several smoke detectors in the unit had been knocked down and appeared to be damaged. In June, he received information that some of the neighbors had entered the property through an unlocked window and stopped the detectors from working because they had been constantly beeping. The complaint is under investigation.

An officer was dispatched to a local apartment complex on a drug complaint. The caller, who was the manager there, told dispatch that there was an odor of marijuana coming from one of the apartments. Upon arrival, the officer was told that both the complainant and a tenant had thought they smelled marijuana in front of a particular apartment. The officer made contact with the suspect tenants, who were smoking cigarettes, but he did not smell or find any evidence of marijuana. The tenants assured him they did not smoke it. Confident they were telling the truth, the officer cleared the scene.

• An officer was instructed to call an area hospital after a victim was treated for a gunshot wound. The officer was then told the victim had been released, but was given the victim’s phone number and made contact. The victim stated he was at a gravel pit when his gun fell and discharged, resulting in his being struck by a bullet in the leg. As the incident occurred outside the city limits, the incident was referred to the appropriate jurisdiction.

Sept. 19

• Officers were dispatched to a breaking and entering in progress at a Mason residence. Upon arrival, they did not find anyone fitting the description of the suspect so they met with the complainant who reported seeing a male try to get in through the building’s back door. The complainant did not believe anyone was living in that portion of the building. When the officers checked inside the unsecured building, they found a female who appeared to have just awakened. She reported having moved in two days prior and not hearing anyone trying to break in. Officers checked the rest of the building but found nothing suspicious. Before leaving, they gave suggestions on how to better secure her living quarters. The report is closed.

• A Mason business owner reported she had expensive jewelry stolen from her display case inside a space that she rented in a building on W. Maple St. She stated the display case had been locked and she had no idea how someone had gotten into it. She was asked to inventory everything that was missing and then get back with the officer. The complaint remains under investigation.

An officer was dispatched to a 911 hang-up call and then was told the caller had been reached and was claiming to have been assaulted. The officer contacted the victim who claimed her niece was supposed to be dropped at the residence by the child’s father, but the father was upset that the victim’s sister (child’s mother) was not present and refused to leave the child with the complainant. The victim said they argued and he put the child back into his car. She then got into the backseat, trying to console the now crying child and the father punched her in the face. When she told the father she was going to call the police, he took the child out of the car and drove away. Subsequent investigation showed the father was currently a suspended driver. The officer later made contact with the father who claimed that according to a court order, he was only to transfer the child to her mother and no one else. He claimed the aunt was trying to remove the child from the vehicle without permission and he might have struck her face with his elbow accidentally while trying to buckle the child into the car seat. He also claimed a female friend had driven the vehicle because he knew he was suspended. The officer later made contact with the friend by phone and she verified the father’s alibi; however, during the interview the officer could hear the father speaking in the background. The stories told by all were contradicting, with no injuries being noted and the victim stating no one else had been in the vehicle at the time of the assault. The complaint will be sent to the Prosecutor’s Office for their review on possible assault and DWLS charges against the father.• An officer was dispatched to a local tavern for a late malicious destruction of property complaint. The victim stated the week before she had left her vehicle at the tavern overnight and had returned to get it the following morning, only to find damage to the driver’s door. She said she also had found something in the ignition which prevented her key from going in all the way, and had found a crack pipe, a pair of shoes, a phone book, and a vodka bottle that didn’t belong to her. When the officer asked why it had taken her so long to report the matter, she stated she had been busy in Lansing all week and hadn’t had time. The officer then observed a marijuana roach and marijuana debris in the car, but the victim claimed that although she was a medical marijuana holder, these were not hers and she never allowed anyone to do drugs in her car. She further claimed she didn’t use marijuana anymore because she had been robbed for it not long ago. The officer seized all the items the victim stated were not hers and the case is closed for lack of leads.

An officer responded to a Cedar St. gas station on a check subject complaint after a caller reported an intoxicated male had been in his business causing problems and was now at a different gas station. The officer checked the second business and was told the subject had been there, made a purchase and left. The officer checked the area, with no results, and returned to the original caller who was a clerk at the first station. The complainant advised that the man had gotten upset when he couldn’t use his rewards card in payment for merchandise and began swearing. When the suspect left at the complainant’s request, he was still yelling as he went out the door. The report is closed.

Sept. 21

• Officers responded to a residential facility on Curtis St. where it was reported by a staff member that a resident was making homicidal statements. Officers found the man withdrawn and distracted from his responses and after listening to witness accounts of the statements he had made, it was determined he would be taken to community mental health for evaluation. The paperwork was completed and he was turned over to personnel there.

• An officer responded to a domestic assault complaint at a Mason home and was told by dispatch the male half had left during the call. The officer met the complainant who reported she and her boyfriend were having an argument, during which he called her vulgar names, so she responded by slapping his face. The boyfriend then slapped her face, so she went for the phone to call 911, but he took it from her. When she got it back and was calling, he left the residence. The officer found the male inside a nearby bar and was given the same account as the complainant had given except the male denied taking the phone. Neither party wished to prosecute; they just wanted to get around to the business of exchanging car keys.

• A resident on E. Maple St. called to report finding a number of lawn ornaments that had been placed on her front lawn by unknown pranksters. The found items are: a black wire tricycle flower pot holder, an angel/or fairy and globe figurine, three gnomes — all broken — a dwarf, an eagle/or seagull figurine and a bluebird figurine. The listed property is now at Mason Police Department (MPD) and citizens believing one or more of these items could be property that was misappropriated from their lawns are asked to contact the MPD between the hours of 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The manager of an area business reported an illegal dumping into the business dumpster, believed to have been done by a couple in a black Chevrolet HHR. The complainant reported seeing the pair as they rummaged around in their car and then disposed of the bags of garbage, later determined to be full of dirty diapers. Investigation confirmed the presence of the biohazard material, but the bags were not seized as evidence for obvious reasons. The vehicle’s registration number was obtained and contact with the suspect diaper dumpers is pending.

Sept. 23

• Officers received an alert for a vehicle being operated erratically on southbound US127 approaching the north city limits of Mason. An officer waited under the Kipp Road overpass and the suspect vehicle passed by. The officer followed and caught up when he noticed a female motorist — later found to be the complainant — frantically pointing to the suspect vehicle, trying to get the officer to stop it. The officer did, and as he walked up to the suspect, he witnessed him trying to stuff something down the front of his pants, or to get at something already stuffed down into the front of his pants. Suspecting a gun, the officer acted accordingly and ordered the suspect out of the car. As the officer was checking for weapons, another officer happened to notice a hypodermic syringe fall from the suspect’s pant legs. This bit of evidence and the needle track marks visible on the driver’s neck — along with his being known as a heroin addict — and the driver’s obvious impairments, led to his arrest for driving while under the influence of drugs. The driver was taken to an area hospital where a search warrant for drugs by blood test was executed. He was later released to await the MSP lab results and charges by the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office for OUID and possession of heroin.

• An officer was requested to meet a complainant at MPD to give advice on a civil matter. The complainant, who resided south of here, met her ex, who lived north of here, in the city hall parking lot for a child exchange. She stated the ex’s new girlfriend videotaped the contact, which upset her as she does not want the girlfriend around during the child exchanges. The officer rightly pointed out this was not a police issue and it would best be addressed to the court of jurisdiction for remedy.

While patrolling, officers heard what sounded like a significant explosion. As officers went about the area investigating, Dispatch advised they had received about 10 calls from residents throughout the area reporting the loud boom, some reporting a burst of light. The officers continued to investigate and began noticing citizens outside their homes looking up into the sky, some stopping to report what they had witnessed to the officers. Officers checked commercial and industrial areas, power transformers and everywhere else they could think of, finding no evidence of an explosion. However, based on all the information they were able to gather, the preponderance of witness accounts indicated the explosion occurred roughly to the southwest. Other agencies and state authorities have been advised of the incident and the report is closed at this point.

• An officer witnessed a group walking through a parking lot, one of whom he knew to be wanted by MPD. The officer made contact and confirmed the suspect’s identity, then discovered the warrant was for alcohol violations. The suspect at first acquiesced to his fate, making disparaging comments about a 55th District Court Judge making him sit in jail too long. He then agreed to a breath test, stating he hoped he was too drunk to go to jail. When he was told he had a .27 percent breathe alcohol level — well below the standards requiring refusal of admission to jail — the suspect said he felt a seizure and demanded medical attention. It was called and he was released to medical staff with his promise to turn himself in the next day at 3 p.m.

Crash reports: Officers investigated three on-street accidents, one private property accidents and one car/deer accident.

Alarms: Officers responded to one alarm.

Found property: A black wire tricycle flower pot holder, an angel/or fairy and globe figurine, three gnomes — all broken — a dwarf, an eagle/or seagull figurine and a bluebird figurine. From August: Two American flags. Contact the MPD if these belong to you.

This article was written by John Stressman  and originally published on lansingstatejournal



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