ALBANY, Ore. — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the suspects they say robbed two men at gunpoint early Wednesday morning, then bound them with zip ties.
Sheriff Bruce Riley says around 3 am, up to five suspects forced their way into two homes on the same property on Santiam Bluffs Road north of Albany. Riley says the suspects were carrying firearms and were wearing ski masks and bulletproof vests. Deputies say the suspects bound two residents: 66-year-old Robert Bender, and 27-year-old Frederick McKenney with zip ties. The victims were not injured, but deputies say the suspects left with an undisclosed amount of cash, several pounds of marijuana, and several firearms.
“This location was a grow site for medical marijuana, and we believe they had been targeted for that reason,” Riley said.
Riley says as far as he knows, it is a legal grow site, but it still made the victims a target.
“We don’t think that the general public is in danger or that there are some serial, random home invasion robberies going on,” Riley said.
Within the last few months, the Sheriff’s Office says there have been two other drug-related robberies in the area. Riley says arrests have been made in those cases.
Neighbors in the area say their road is safe, and the robbery makes them nervous.
“I’d say it’s a very safe area,” said neighbor Cory Nimz. “I mean there might be car accidents every now and then – but other violence going on – I’ve never heard of anything like that around here. It’s a little uncomforting, just being down the road. You never think it can happen to you.”
KEZI 9 News reached out to the victims of the robbery, and though they were not willing to speak, Dustin Hall, Bender’s nephew, says the robbery makes the family uneasy.
“Stuff like this never happens,” he said. “It’s pretty scary. “We were kind of shook up about it at first this morning. Yeah, but better now.”
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who has information about the case to contact Detective Mike Harmon at (541) 967-3950.