HILMAR — A man apparently impersonating a police officer tied up a 70-year-old man and his wife while looking for marijuana at their home.
According to the Merced County Sheriff's Department, the couple was outside feeding livestock just after 7 p.m. Monday when a four-door vehicle pulled up in front of their house in the 21000 block of Bloss Avenue.
The driver, described as a Latino in a white T-shirt, black baseball cap and what appeared to be a black police tactical vest with a small gold star badge, approached the man and said he was there to confiscate his drugs. He was accompanied by two to four omen; it's not clear if they were dressed in tactical gear.
The victim told the man that the narcotics task force had been to his house a few weeks before and had taken his marijuana.
Records show that two men were arrested at a home near the victims' home earlier this month when deputies confiscated more than 100 plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana. In Merced County, a patient with a medical marijuana card is allowed to own up to six mature plants and 12 immature plants, in addition to a half-pound of finished product. According to authorities, the victims on Monday had marijuana but gave it up without a warrant and weren't cited.
In the Monday incident, the suspect pulled out a handgun, grabbed the man and walked him into the house. He placed the man on the floor and tied his hands. In the meantime, the other suspects brought the wife into the house from the back yard and told her to lie down next to her husband.
They kept asking where the drugs and money were and the victims kept telling them the police had already been there and they didn't have any. The suspects ransacked the house and took an undisclosed amount of money, some other items and the victim's pickup. The victims were unhurt.
Authorities said the stolen truck is a white 2000 Toyota Tacoma with the license plate of 7H64575.
Investigators ask anyone with information to contact the Merced County Sheriff's Department at (209) 385-7472.