SONOMA (CBS SF) — A Graton man was ordered to pay more than $102,000 in restitution after he damaged a rented home that was the site of an illegal marijuana grow operation, Sonoma County prosecutors said.
Allen Sternik, 56, was ordered by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Julie Conger to pay $102,464.50 to the homeowner after a two-day hearing, District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.
Sternik had pleaded guilty to a felony charge last April 2 and as part of his plea agreement was required to pay restitution to the homeowner, Ravitch said.
Damage to the home included black mold in the walls, large electrical panels mounted in the bedrooms and boards nailed on the ceiling to hang marijuana, she said.
Air ducts were disconnected from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which animals used to dispose their waste, prosecutors said.
The home was also ripped of its carpet and holes were cut through the walls to place blowers and vents, according to the district attorney’s office.
Extensive damage was also found in the home’s subfloors and bathrooms, prosecutors said.
Sternik did not tell the homeowner of roof damage that caused water to leak into the residence, prosecutors said.
“This defendant rented a home from an innocent property owner, and later turned the home into a marijuana grow facility without the landlord’s permission,” Ravitch said in a statement.
“The damage to the house was substantial, as often happens with indoor marijuana growing operations,” she said.
“Judge Conger’s order should serve as notice to illegal marijuana growers who rent homes or other buildings in Sonoma County under false pretenses that they will be liable for the damage they cause. Landlords need to be careful in choosing renters, and in what they include in rental agreements with tenants, to avoid being stuck with the high cost of repairs to their property,” Ravitch said.
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