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Redmond food truck owner grateful for labor, donations by other trucks after work supplies are stolen

(Update: Adding video, comments from Kook'i owner, police, other food trucks who helped)

'When bad things happen, you've just got to remember those good things. We're blessed. We're good.'  

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Kook'i, a bakery truck that sits in the Doghouse Brew Yard food truck lot, recently had their backpack with a laptop and cash stolen out of their truck while parked at the Best Buy parking lot in Bend.

Heather Ward, along with her husband Aaron, were in the electronics store on Monday, April 17th when their truck was broken into. A laptop and a Square register kit, among other things, were taken while the couple said they were in the store for just a few minutes.

"We don't really trust a lot of stuff, keeping it in our trailer," Ward told NewsChannel 21 Wednesday. So it's kind of vintage, so we don't take that risk."

Kook'i opened in March this year after the couple moved from Louisiana to Redmond.

When their vehicle was broken into, they lost $5,000 worth of items, including Square card readers, a laptop and cash.

"We we're devastated, honestly," Ward said. "I didn't expect to get emotional. I wanted to puke, I wanted to cry, I wanted to be mad and angry, I wanted to be angry at ourselves. And, I wanted to be angry -- but at the same time, who do you be angry at?"

The Bend Police Department says 50 thefts have taken place near Best Buy this year. "Of the (reported) 402 thefts in 2023 so far, 56 were reported in the district where Best Buy is," Bend Police Communications Manager Sheila Miller said. "It's very spread throughout the city. There's not one particular area where we see a lot more thefts."

After posting on Facebook what had happened, the operators of several other food trucks in the Redmond area reached out to Ward, in hopes of helping her get some business items back and the things needed to remain operational.

Ashley Dolinar, owner of Noona's Cucina food truck in Redmond, said, "I wanted to help, and that's how I could, by offering my time."

"I'm also a small business owner, and I know how much that bit of money affects somebody, especially starting off brand-new," Dolinar added.

Mariah Larson, executive chef at General Duffy's Annex, organized other donations.

"I'm willing to help in anyway," she said, "It doesn't matter if you're a small business with 50 employees or a small business with just yourself as an employee, the impact is still the same."

Larson joined with the owner of Westside Taco, another food truck at General Duffy's Waterhole, to put out a tip jar, in order to raise funds and get the Wards a new laptop.

Bend's Little Pizza Paradise also donated $500.

Amber Amos, who owns Westside Taco, said, "They just need to keep their heads down and bake and put out the amazing product that they do -- and let the rest of us that have experience worry about the rest."

When asked to use one-word to describe her 2023 so far, Heather replied: "Blessed."

"When bad things happen, you've just got to remember those good things. We're blessed. We're good."  

Thanks to that community support among what are often business competitors, Kook'i was able, through donations, to replace almost everything that was stolen that night.

Article Topic Follows: Community

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Blake Mayfield

Blake Mayfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.


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