PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Food carts pods continue to be victims of vandals in the Portland area and this week, it happened 2 nights in a row.
The Piedmont Station Food Carts on NE 6th and Killingsworth were broken into overnight or early Friday, November 4. The Tidbit Food Farm on SE 28th and Division was broken into on November 3.
Portland Police are now investigating the break ins but say they have not yet confirmed if the incidents are related.
The Piedmont Station Food Carts property has strong security including a fence that’s locked at night and cameras, but that didn’t seem to make any difference.
Security video shows at least one person going from cart to car at about 2:30 a.m. Owners believe whoever did this just cut through the fence and pad locks to get in.
“This side here is a complete mess. Everything was on the flood,” said PDX Donerland owner Franziska San Pedro. “When I got here the lock was clipped. They got inside.”
Six carts there were broken into and owners say it looks like the thieves were looking for money and electronics.
“They’re taking money from people who are really already struggling as it is,” Mahi Tacos owner Jeff Sandquist said.
The thieves also managed to break into an ATM on the property, busting off the door and actually getting into the machine.
Crime scene techs were there early Friday gathering fingerprints in hopes of finding whoever is responsible.
Cart owners are taking matters into their own hands to protect their property and maybe catch the vandals. Owners say vandalism comes with the territory of owning a food cart but the latest string of break-ins had them pouring money into cameras and better locks — but it’s affecting their bottom line.
“It’s tough, especially coming in for a busy day and you have money you need to make and you have to stop what you’re doing and replace valuable things that you need,” said The Dog House owner Melissa Bateman.
Vandals didn’t steal much, if anything, but left damage behind.
“They broke into my cart tried to go through the front door – ended up going through the back,” said Garden Monsters owner Kyle Hulings. “They didn’t get anything. Fortunately we don’t leave anything inside the cart.”
Some owners are trying to prevent future damage by installing floodlights in addition to the cameras and better locks, but they worry about the cost.
“I hope it was worth it because it’s not easy getting back on our feet,” Bateman said.
The first in this series of vandalisms happened at the Portland Mercado on SE Foster, where 8 of the 10 carts were damaged and 6 were left unable to operate due to theft.
Another pod, Carts on Foster, was hit 2 days later. There, 11 carts had their windows broken, doors ripped and awnings smashed. Cartlandia was hit not long after that.
On November 1 a NE Portland pod known as 42nd Ave Food Carts at Killingsworth was also targeted.
“It’s discouraging to walk into a place that you care about and you work really hard to obtain and see that someone doesn’t care and destroy it,” Pyro Pizza owner Cloei Monay said.