ENCINO (CBSLA) — A Los Angeles police SWAT team surrounded an unlicensed marijuana dispensary in Tarzana for hours looking for four robbery suspects, but when officers finally got inside, there were no suspects or hostages in the building.
Police said they were working with the best information they had, and perhaps an abundance of caution, as they handled the hours-long incident as a potential hostage situation.
Around 8 p.m., the SWAT team forced their way into the building, blowing out the second-story window and serving a warrant on what they say is an illegal pot shop.
Officers responded to a report of a possible takeover robbery around 1:30 p.m. in the 18300 block of Ventura Boulevard, according to Los Angeles police.
Police were looking into reports of a possible hostage at the GMCM Dispensary.
For hours, officers worked on the belief that one suspect was still inside with a woman, possibly a victim who had called police from inside.
Maroam Cohen was working nearby when he said police surrounded him as he left for lunch.
“That’s when the cops stopped me and had guns drawn on me and told me put my hand up,” he said. “Then they put cuffs on me and questioned me and called the office to verify who I was, and then they took the handcuffs off.”
In the end, when police entered the dispensary there was no hostage and no one inside the business.
Police believe the four suspects got out seconds before their initial arrival.
It’s unclear if any property was taken.