Pot patch plundered

WESTFIELD – A Southwick man is facing larceny, assault and trespassing charges after he allegedly raided a marijuana patch in the vegetable garden at a residence near his home.
Southwick Police Officer Michael Westcott reports in a court document that he and two other officers responded to a report of a disturbance in the back yard at a Point Grove Road address on Oct. 7, 2020, and spoke with the residents who said that a person had been stealing things from their yard, both that evening and the night before.
The couple told Westcott that they had video recordings of the man on their property on each occasion and the husband said that when they confronted the suspect a short time earlier a fight had ensued. The victim said that he was “very familiar” with the man who “was always at the bar.”
Westcott reports that he believed that he recognized the man from the victims’ descriptions and, when he was not found at a nearby apartment complex where the suspect was alleged to have parked his truck, sought the suspect at his Chapman Street home.
When he found the suspect, Michael D. Markvart, 50, of 1 Chapman St., he noted that “His clothes were covered in dirt and he appeared to have been in struggle as he had fresh dirt and scrape marks on his face.”
Markvart told Westbrook that he had been “jumped” by an unknown man while he had been walking his dog at an apartment complex. When Westcott told him that the victim had accused him of stealing property from his back yard, Markvart told the officer “he was not sure why the other guy was claiming this and accusing him of taking his weed.”
Westcott reported that, at that point in his conversation with Markvart he “had not yet mentioned anything regarding ‘his weed’ as of yet and only referred to the stolen property as ‘property’.”
Westcott returned to speak again with the victims and observed a garden where both vegetables and six marijuana plants were growing near a barn with a ‘No trespassing’ sign on it. He noted that the marijuana plants had been cut in several places and saw a trail of fresh clippings and stalks of marijuana on the ground. Following the trail, the officer found a baseball type hat and a pair of glasses of “the same type I am familiar with seeing Markvart wear on a regular basis” as well as a pair of pruning shears.
Westcott also observed “The area had been turned up and there were obvious signs a struggle had taken place in the dirt.”
The male victim said that, during his struggle with Markvart, his wrist had been cut by the pruning shears the suspect had been using to cut his marijuana plants and showed Westcott two small lacerations on his wrist.
Westcott subsequently returned to Markvart’s home and served him with a ‘No trespassing’ order on behalf of the victims. He also advised Markvart that a criminal complaint would be filed.
Westcott noted in his report that, based on his training and experience, the potential value of the six marijuana plants was as much as $21,600.
Markvart was arraigned Feb. 18 before Judge Charles Groce on charges of larceny of property valued more than $1,200 by a false pretense, attempted larceny, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two charges of trespass. He was released on his personal recognizance, with pre-trial conditions, pending a June 1 hearing.
Markvart had been on probation at the time of his alleged foray into the marijuana patch. On Feb. 4, 2020, he had been placed on probation for one year when he pleaded guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, intimidating a police officer, assault and resisting arrest which had been brought by Southwick police.

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