It’s pretty common these days for robbers to target homes where marijuana is being grown.
Not so common: When the suspected pot growers are two women past retirement age.
That was what San Bruno police uncovered Friday, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.
It all began when neighbors heard loud banging coming from the women’s home on Valleywood Drive, nestled in between Skyline Boulevard and Interstate 280.
Then they saw two men, later identified as Kitae Chae, 38, and Kenny Kong, 34, breaking down the front door and lingering inside for a few minutes before driving off in a BMW, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
The neighbors called police, and officers who stopped the BMW in South San Francisco found the men with $12,000 in cash, marijuana packaging material and seven ecstasy pills, Wagstaffe said.
When they arrived at the Valleywood Drive home, investigators found a substantial pot-growing operation: more than 800 marijuana plants, $3,000 in cash and a bypass through which electricity was being stolen from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., police said.
In short order, officers arrested the occupants — 72-year-old Aleen Lam and Virginia Chan Pon, 65. It’s not Pon’s first run-in with the law: She is already facing charges in Yolo County for allegedly passing more than $40,000 in bad checks over a three-day period at Cache Creek Casino.
“I have never seen or heard of women in their 60s and 70s running a grow house,” Wagstaffe said. “I certainly hope it is aberrational rather than a trend. I suppose profiteering in illegal enterprises crosses all the generations.”
The two women face a variety of drug charges, and Chae and Kong are accused of drug and burglary counts. All four have pleaded not guilty and are being held at San Mateo County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail each.
Prosecutors have filed a motion requiring that the two women show a legitimate source for any bail they post.