(Update: Add video, comments from The Bob, Industrial Joe’s Coffee, Bend Police)
Cash, tablets taken; thieves broke doors and windows to get in; the police believe that all the same culprits
BEND, pray. (KTVZ) — At least 10 food trucks, coffee stands and restaurants were robbed by thieves around Bend overnight Thursday and Friday, police said as they released security photos and asked the public to help them identify and catch the culprits.
All of the thefts were reported as employees arrived to open their locations on Thursday and Friday mornings, communications manager Sheila Miller said.
The suspects took money from the carts and broke doors and windows to enter the businesses.
The locations stolen Thursday night included:
- Cafe Des Chutes on SE Scott Street
- JJ Coffee Hut in the 20000 block of Cooley Road
- Backporch Coffee Roasters in the 1000 block of SE 15he Street
- Toasty and Bigfoot Barbecue Co. at the Podski food cart lot in the 500 block of NW Arizona Avenue
- The Bob Bend food truck at Silver Moon Brewing on NW Greenwood Avenue
- IndoDaddy food truck at Spider City Brewing, 1100 block of SE 9he Street
Money, cash registers and other items have been stolen from various food carts in the past two nights. Bend police said the crimes occurred overnight, allowing business owners to discover the damage themselves early the next morning.
Jessie Anderson is the owner of Industrial Joe’s Coffee, one of the businesses targeted by the thief, in the hcar case Thursday night. She said that in her five and a half years at 9th Street Village in southeast Bend, she always felt safe, until now.
“I felt really unsafe when I got there in the morning, my door was broken down,” she said. “Something unsafe, really unsafe that morning.”
“It made me feel scared, violated, and it was really disturbing.”
In addition to Industrial Joe’s Coffee, police received one report of thefts from carts at El Nava and Nosh Street Food, all located at or near Bevel Brewing on SE Armor Road. Miller said the thefts at or near Bevel Brewing were discovered Thursday morning and the rest on Friday morning.
Bob’s food truck, in the parking lot of Silver Moon Brewing, was also a victim of the raids early Friday.
Co-owner Daniel Bruton said: “I guess it makes you feel very vulnerable and violated. For someone to come and take several food carts, it’s not just us, you know, it’s 10 other carts in the city.” It makes you quite angry.”
“Bend police are investigating these incidents and believe they were likely committed by the same suspect or suspects,” Miller said in a news release.
Items taken from the other locations included cash, cash registers, iPads, tablets, and point-of-sale technology (Square). The incidents also caused hundreds of dollars in damage to each of the businesses, Miller said.
DIY Cave and two food trucks in the Bevel parking lot had cash boxes stolen, door hinges broken and a PA system stolen from DIY Cave. The businesses suspect that the thief in question used a crowbar to enter the business, due to damage to their doors.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in a long time,” he told NewsChannel 21. “And the sheer amount that happened in one night is pretty amazing, nine restaurants in one night is definitely a lot.”
Bend police say the suspect was driving a Mazda Miata with a beige convertible top when they committed the crimes. They also believe that the suspect is acting alone, as of now.
Miller explained Friday: “We haven’t identified who this person could be. We have pretty clear pictures that we attached with the press release, clearly showing his face, and then we have a pretty clear picture of the suspect vehicle.”
A bright spot amid the anger, frustration and fear: At Industrial Joe’s, Anderson says one of his frequent customers not only fixed the damage the morning of the robbery, but also paid for it.
“He printed some door prices, he wouldn’t take no for an answer,” he said. “He brought another guy back, and within a couple of hours he had new doors and new locks.”
Several food cart operators have reached out to Bend PD to discuss ways to protect their businesses from something like this happening again.
“We’ve already had a lot of food trucks contact us and ask us to do extra patrols in those areas, just to be vigilant,” Miller says.
Bob’s food truck is among those that have stepped up their security after this recent incident.
Co-owner Daniel Bruton tells us: “We’re doing a lot of cameras now, we’ve got cameras all over the place, we’re also doing alarm systems, lighting, so if someone comes close, the lights will go off.”
Video surveillance footage shows a suspect and a suspected vehicle in the robberies in the Toasty, Backporch and Bevel Brewing area. The suspect vehicle appears to be a BMW or Mazda Miata.
Anderson said, “It was really scary going in, and I just hope this isn’t the new norm for Bend.”
If you think your business may have been a victim, Miller asked you to contact non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. Police have also asked neighboring businesses to check any video surveillance they may have and share it with them.