Crime

Burglary report led to discovery of Washington Park pot-growing operation, police say

Darryl Mason, a Washington Park man, is in custody after police said they responded to a reported burglary at his home and found an elaborate marijuana-growing operation. No charges have been filed, but Washington Park police were continuing their investigation, according to Chief Allen Bonds.
Darryl Mason, a Washington Park man, is in custody after police said they responded to a reported burglary at his home and found an elaborate marijuana-growing operation. No charges have been filed, but Washington Park police were continuing their investigation, according to Chief Allen Bonds. Special to the BND

A Washington Park man is in custody after police said they responded to a reported burglary at his home and found an elaborate marijuana-growing operation.

Darryl Mason, 35, was charged Thursday with unlawful possession of 5-20 cannabis plants, a Class 4 felony, and unlawful use of a weapon without a FOID card, a Class A misdemeanor.

Washington Park Police said they went to Mason’s residence in the 1100 block of North 45th Street on Wednesday to investigate a call of a burglary in progress at the home. Once there, officers learned that a 16-year-old girl, who was hiding in a bathroom, had made the call. She told police that three men had come into the house, and that she had run and hid in the bathroom to call police, Chief Allen Bonds said.

Police found that a side window was open and a shutter was out, Bonds said. He also said there were shoes and a screen on the ground.

The girl, whose identity was not released, opened a back door to the residence and allowed police to enter.

“Once inside of the house, officers observed cabin-sized tents. It appears that (Mason’s parents) owned the house but have since passed away,” Bonds said. “They gave the house to their son.”

Police also found air ducts running from the tents, growing lights, manure and other items for growing marijuana, Bonds said. Before fully searching the property, officers were in the process of getting a search warrant when Mason walked up, Bonds said.

“He gave his consent for his house to be searched, and he admitted that it was his stuff,” Bonds said.

Inside, police found three large tents, some generators and at least 2 pounds of marijuana, Bonds said. He added that the growing equipment was on timers.

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