It appears as though the last bastion of innocence has surrendered the cause. Grandpa and Grandma’s retirement community may just be sheltering a meth lab, especially if one of the residents of their senior complex is Robert Short of California. Short, 64, was pulled over for a minor traffic offense on Saturday by Fresno police, but after further investigation of his record, car and apartment, the routine stop turned into the discovery of a meth lab in Short’s senior living apartment.
After being pulled over, a routine check of Short’s record revealed that he was currently on supervised release after a conviction for selling meth. According to Sgt. Brian Valles, officers then searched Short’s car, discovering an electronic scale, plastic bags, and four ounces of crystal methamphetamine, which according to Lt. Joe Gomez, is “a lot” of meth and an amount they would not expect to find if the drug was meant for personal consumption, but rather suggests that the person is selling the drug. The car’s contents led police to perform a search on Short’s apartment in the California League-Fresno Village retirement community, located near Fresno Pacific University. Once there, they discovered more meth – a half-pound, to be exact, as well as a half-pound of heroin and the makings for a small-scale meth lab. The meth discovered in Short’s apartment has a street value of approximately $1,700.
Police believe that due to the evidence discovered in both Short’s apartment and car, he was selling crystal meth. His neighbors at the California senior complex say that their community is very close, but that Short kept to himself and was not well-known, having moved into the facility just three or so months ago, according to neighbor Robin Schramek.
Pictures taken of the exterior of Short’s home show the windows covered and multiple signs telling visitors not to disturb Short and to give him privacy – signs which would suggest a reclusive neighbor, but not necessarily a meth lab operator. Cooking meth generally creates strong, toxic fumes, leading to the belief that either Short had a large-scale ventilation system, had not begun the actual manufacturing of the meth or had perhaps been very lucky until Saturday’s stop. If Short had been that lucky, so too were the residents of the senior community in which he lived. Cooking meth is an extremely dangerous process that involves explosive, flammable and poisonous chemicals. In many cases, the byproducts of the manufacturing process render the area in which it was cooked to be deemed hazardous and contaminated. As methods for creating the drug evolve, it becomes harder for law enforcement to ascertain the correct procedure involved for decontaminating a certain area based on the “recipe” used.
Short is currently in the Fresno County, California, jail awaiting his first court appearance for multiple drug charges, including possession with intent to sell narcotics, transportation of narcotics and making meth in proximity to a school. There is no word on when his court date will occur or if he has hired a lawyer. Lt. Gomez told KFSN-TV that he found it “Just shocking someone that age would do that, but actually a perfect place to do it, right? Retirement village, who would suspect it going on there?”
By Jennifer Pfalz