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Graffiti at burglary ties crime to pot site

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A man suspected of running a large marijuana-growing operation in Franklin is now a possible suspect in a burglary that occurred at an industrial building, where the names of two Franklin police officers were painted on vehicles, police said.

Police are investigating the break-in at Hurricane Industrial Development, an industrial building southeast of Franklin. The building is owned by Robert Clawson, the same man who owns a building at Hurricane Road and Eastview Drive where an extensive marijuana-growing facility was found on Feb. 22. That building contained 500 marijuana plants, expensive growing lights and a recirculating irrigation system.

Clawson is not a suspect; another person had leased the building since October 2012.

The burglar wrote the names of two police officers on vehicles at the industrial building. The officers are involved in investigating the marijuana-growing operation. In that case, detectives tried to interview the person who had been renting the building from Clawson, but he chose not to answer questions.

Investigators were able to determine where most of the growing equipment was purchased, and police have been going to those businesses to look for video of the person buying the equipment, Franklin Police Department Lt. Kerry Atwood said.

Police are investigating whether the suspect in the marijuana-growing operation is the same person who broke into the industrial building, Atwood said.

Three cars were vandalized with graffiti, and another vehicle was stolen either late Sunday or early Monday at Hurricane Industrial Development, according to a report from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

One Franklin police officer was called a derogatory name on one car, while another car simply had the last name of a detective. A third car had the words, “Rob, why did you break my heart,” painted on it, and police speculate that the message was intended for Clawson, Atwood said.

A 2008 Ford F350 truck was stolen from the facility, and the radiator was stolen from another vehicle, the sheriff’s report said.

The break-in was discovered during a separate investigation. A Chevy Silverado truck was reported stolen from the 1800 block of Churchill Road in Franklin early Monday. Shortly afterward a Franklin police officer saw the gate to Hurricane Industrial Development had been broken open, Atwood said.

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