Man reports stolen marijuana to police

Editor’s note: This corrects the off ramp where the suspects were arrested.

NEWPORT BEACH — Police are investigating a man who claims the 25 pounds of marijuana stolen from his home over the weekend were legally grown in the city, officials said Wednesday.

Newport Beach police would not identify the man because, at this point, he’s considered the victim of a residential burglary.

At about 4:40 p.m. Sunday, a resident in the 20000 block of Spruce Avenue in Santa Ana Heights called police saying they were witnessing two men breaking into a neighbor’s home.

The men used a hammer to break open the glass on the front door and get inside, said Sgt. Steve Burdette.

Witnesses reported the men carried out cardboard boxes and loaded them into their car before driving off. Officers searched the area and found the men on the freeway, arresting them on the 17th Street exit off the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway in Santa Ana, Burdette said.

Burdette said the boxes were packed with marijuana, about $50,000 worth, according to the owner. The homeowner told police he has some kind of permit that allows him to grow marijuana.

Newport Beach does not have any kind of licenses or permits that allow for people to grow marijuana here, said City Atty. David Hunt.

He speculated the man was referring to a marijuana prescription that allows some people to smoke it.

“One would think 25 pounds would be more than one needs for personal use,” Hunt added.

While police continue to investigate the homeowner and his drugs, the two men accused of stealing it from him are scheduled to be in court next week.

Gary Alexander Turcios, 33, of Stanton, and Scott Matthew Bancroft, 34, of Yorba Linda, are charged with residential burglary and transportation and sale of marijuana.

Turcios faces several enhancements for having several previous drug- and weapons-related felony convictions and for being out on bail pending another felony case.

Both men have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to be in court for a pretrial hearing Feb. 17.