Erin Warner, The Leader-Post
Published: Wednesday, July 19, 2006
"Let me die in peace" is the message Tom Shapiro wants sent to two teenagers who broke into his Ottawa Street home early Monday morning and demanded he hand over his pot.
The Regina man, who has a licence to grow and use marijuana to ease symptoms of AIDS, is now worrying for the safety of himself and his wife due to his advocacy of medical marijuana use.
Around 1 a.m. Monday, Shapiro said he was with his wife in their living room when she noticed two teenage boys walking by, pulling up the hoods on their sweatshirts. The pair came up the walk and pulled open the home's locked screen door.
"He said, 'We just want the pot,' " Shapiro said.
Shapiro said he handed over about four ounces of dried marijuana and a $20 bill on the coffee table. One of the teens, he said, rifled through his array of AIDS medications and pocketed some pain killers. They then left the house, warning Shapiro not to call the police, he said.
But Shapiro did call the police, who responded to the home. A file of break, enter and commit robbery is being investigated by the Regina Police Service's street crimes section, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich.
Shapiro became a public figure in support of medical marijuana use in February, after police confiscated his grow equipment and marijuana plants when a mix-up with Health Canada caused his licence to lapse. He eventually got his licence renewed and both his pot and equipment back from police.
The ordeal, which played out in the local media, made him vulnerable to criminals looking for marijuana, Shapiro said.
"That put me in the limelight; that made me a target," he said.
Now, Shapiro has installed security cameras and an alarm system, and is considering selling his home. Unlike illegal drug users, Shapiro said he won't hesitate to call the police if an incident like this happens again.
And in addition to some jittery nerves, Shapiro said the robbery has left him a little short on pot.
"I'm going to be out of commission for a while," he said.
Please email Tom at mailto:email@example.com for more information.
Tom and Bobbie are very shaken up about this and it's a most reprehensible act for some one to carry out. If anyone can help these two good people out, please do so.
Thanks to Groo for the snip