It's not an uncommon tactic for police to get electrical usage records to target and bust growers. Apparently it takes a lot more than that to get someone's attention in Patterson, California.
Stanislaus County Sheriff's deputies say that a pair of grow houses in a quiet residential neighborhood were using so much combined electricity that they overloaded the grid and burned through cables supplying the entire neighborhood.
Our report is pieced together from the clearly anti-pot Patterson Irrigator, which described the houses as having a putrid stench. That aside, it seems that the electric company was called out after the two homes - each pulling 80 amps of electricity - caused an outage for about 20 other homes. According to one city worker, the two homes had enough electricity running to them to power about 30 homes in the area.
Investigators say that the homes had illegally bypassed the electrical boxes outside the home and installed their own breakers to pull more power from the grid. They say they smelled pot around the house while investigating the outage and called the sheriff to come check things out.
"In 28 years of working in the electrical business I've never seen this much damage from one of these," the city worker told the Patterson Irrigator. "I got called out here for the block being out of power and only two houses didn't complain about the power."
Police say that the two houses were likely related and had been completely converted to marijuana grow facilities with lights and vents taking up bedrooms. One house had a living room and a television, as well as a German shepherd left in the back yard. As of yesterday, police had not made any arrests.