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Half of Sunriver restaurant’s outdoor furniture gone after fake online ad says it’s closing, come and take it

Owner moved to tears; police call it 'a head-scratcher'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Sunriver restaurant is missing half of its outdoor furniture, after a fake online ad claimed they were closing and asked people to come by and take whatever they want.

Laura Bliss is the owner of South Bend Bistro, which is now missing half empty.  

“I’ve put my entire life into this,” Bliss said Thursday while trying to hold back tears. “Sorry, I’m a little emotional there.”

Bliss bought South Bend Bistro in 2017, and has worked at it every day since.

“I am the one behind all of this restaurant, and it’s my baby, so it’s been really hard," Bliss said. “With everything that we’ve been through as a restaurant over the last few years, to wake up to this -- it’s very frustrating.”

The restaurant's security footage Thursday morning shows people taking tables, chairs, umbrellas, plants, heaters and propane tanks.

“This is normally filled with tables and umbrellas,” Bliss said, pointing at a half-filled patio. “They knocked over our planters and took our plants.”

Why did this happen? Police said because of a fake Craigslist ad that claimed South Bend Bistro was closing and all the furniture needed to go as soon as possible, and could be taken for free. 

For Lt. Michael Womer of the Sunriver Police Department, this was a new one. 

“This one is a head-scratcher,” Womer said. “I've been in law enforcement for 25 years, and I have not quite seen this one before.”

Sunriver police are requesting a subpoena for the ad and investigating if it was a form of political retaliation.

“There seems to be some initial information that there might be a dispute with the previous owners but its too early to tell at this point if that’s legit,” Womer said. 

Bliss said she believes it has something to do with the previous owner, and she’s certain she’s done nothing publicly to anger anyone.

“I’m not a part of any organizations. I'm just raising a family and running a business, that's all I’m here to do,” Bliss said. 

Going into the weekend with the official start to summer, the restaurant is now missing half of the tables and chairs for its deck, one of its most popular spots.

“The buzz is good, the vibe is good,” Bliss said about the season so far. “And then to wake up this morning to that was horrific.”

Some people have already started returning items, facing no legal punishment.

Depending on how much is returned, it could cost Bliss close to $4,000 to replace it all.

NewsChannel 21 asked if Bliss could afford to replace it all. 

“No,” Bliss said. “And that hits really hard.”

Sunriver police said if you took any items to please return them. You will not face any legal punishment due to the fake advertisement.

However, if you become aware the ad was false, then there could be legal repercussions.

Author Profile Photo

Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

Comments

52 Comments

    1. Well I b livin out here in them deeshoots and I be doin just fine n dandy I am. So ur angleometer must be way off. Just say.

  1. There was someone commenting on the Facebook page of were the worst yesterday, encouraging others to target this business because he was having a disagreement with the former owner.

        1. I didn’t make the threats. Are you telling me I need to read? Because that’s the only thing I do with my free time. I guarantee I’ve read more books in the last month, then you have your entire life. I read the Bible when I was kid. Didn’t make sense to me even as a child. If you want to read something interesting, read about the correlation between religiosity and intelligence.

  2. Why would ktvz report speculation? They dont have actual facts that point to a culpable party. The subpena hasnt even gone through to find who posted the ad. But yet they put the previous owners square in the crosshairs based on emotional speculative testimony. I have no dog in this but this is irresponsible journalism.

      1. So the police told you it was the previous owner? No names were given? You just reported to 100,000 people that it was the previous owner. You didn’t need to mention the name, lol

                1. It’s called Yellow Journalism. Barney nkws all about that. He went to the same type of school that most CNN type leftist went to for their re-education. His profile states as much. Nowadays it’s known as Fake News. Designed to stir the masses, generate revenue, stear the political discourses and reshape the nation into a WWO… one article at a time.

                2. Journalism – trustworthy journalism – is done much the same as it always was. The labeling is part of the hate of the Blame Society – endless social media posts and links to biased sources, changing no minds, from folks who want the objective, factual news to lean in their direction, or it’s “fake.” That it usually can’t stop there and involves offensive personal attacks just helps prove the point.
                  That argument is… fake. Politicians who use it are twisting the facts for political gain.
                  Yes, we lean toward… interesting news, not boring predictable news. Is revenue generation a bad thing, or a sign of success?
                  I constantly ask folks to point out factual errors in today’s news content, so they can be reviewed and, if valid, corrected. Usually crickets. The broad-brush blame of hate is far easier.
                  Thankfully, the metrics of success show that we’re doing fine, and the anecdotal supportive contacts we receive online and face to face show that viewpoint is still a pretty small minority (though very misleadingly loud, of course – thanks in part to this very platform we provide). We’re very appreciative and thankful for that.
                  Volume and endless repetition change no minds and prove nothing, except that some folks don’t have a better use of their time.

                3. Barney ! These are the kind of statements that make everyone roll their eyes and question your ego- your intentions- your grasp of reality… “Journalism – trustworthy journalism – is done much the same as it always was.” Journalism has tanked ! it hasn’t always been that way- but the profession is no longer respected as media outlets take sides- promote agendas- and flat out lie… do you honestly believe that in the day of Woodward and Bernstein- the ethics- standards- and morals today… are the same ???

                4. And yet, we ask for specifics about US and folks turn to years-old stories we didn’t write and were accurate information for the time.
                  The blame and hate changes no minds and solves nothing. It just poisons things online and makes people shake their heads.
                  Our agenda is and always will be facts, despite the untrue allegations you and a few other toxic haters fling our way. Volume and repetition never will equal veracity, whatsoever.

        1. KTVZ only reported what they were told by police. The police should have kept their speculation to themselves. Once they start speculating, if KTVZ did not report it, you would have accused them of withholding public information. You can’t have it both ways.

          1. Wrong ! Any business in any industry is allowed to set their own standards- as long as they don’t violate BOLI/OSHA- slander or libel someone (like CNN did). Z21 suffers from inconsistent and slanted journalism… the latter negatively affecting their potential earnings.

    1. I came here to ask the same question… It’s not the end of the world if you get insurance involved. I suppose the policy might not cover theft of outdoor, unlocked items… but it is worth noting nonetheless.

  3. This reminds me of what happened in Redmond a few years ago. In early January a prankster posted a phony ad that said
    an eatery was buying used Christmas trees for $1 per foot. Fortunately, that restauranteur had a great sense of humor and laughed it off.

  4. A restaurant owner that can’t afford $4,000 measly bucks ? I find that hard to believe- we order that in pizza once a month to hand out to employees. I think their financial troubles have more to do with the covid con than a few stolen wicker chairs ! Many restaurant owners had the opportunity to recall Kalamity kate- and they didn’t bother to sign the petition… I’d start my back story there.

      1. Hey Meathead- I’m adult enough to know I don’t need the mod to protect me from the likes of you. Can you say the same ? No you can’t !

    1. “A restaurant owner that can’t afford $4000 measly bucks?” Judging from all the non-sensical, belligerent and ignorant comments you make, I can cut you some slack. It’s obvious you know nothing about anything let alone owning and operating a business, a restaurant business for that matter, most restaurant owners do not make a whole heck of a lot of money there genius. You know, there is the cost of rent, the cost of salaries, the inflating price of goods, and all the other little things that add up to leave not much of a profit margin. Like I said, I can tell that you are perhaps not all there in the head, and maybe your mommy didn’t teach you to not open your mouth in conversations where you know nothing, but closing your mouth once in a while might do you (and the rest of the world) a world of good.
      And I’d bet money that your employees would much rather have that $4000 in pizza a month dispersed as bonuses in their paychecks.

      1. Well Mother- aren’t you the mouthy one. Like the other three stooges taking pot shots my direction- you must be counting on outside help to keep you from getting worked… how I make my money- run my operations- train my staff- and think six months ahead- is my business… But you got one thing right- there aint no money to be made in Oregon- under Kalamity Kate’s heavy hand and anti-business sentiment (outside of dope)- nobody in their right mind would get into the restaurant business… they were the first shut down by Brown- take yer aching belly that direction… as for my skills and talents- you got a mil- I’ll make you ten- guaranteed !

      2. “your employees would much rather have that $4000 in pizza a month dispersed as bonuses in their paychecks.”… That’s a bet you’d lose- typical ‘Merikan arrogance- It’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth- you should listen twice as much as you speak. Lesson Over !

        1. Just because you have the funds to piss off on pizza doesn’t mean she has the money. She is raising a family, etc. You are really in love with the sound of your own voice aren’t you? You are judgmental, gratuitously nasty and toxic ad nauseum. Bet the only reason your employees stay is the pizza.

          1. I know bghw won’t believe it, at least publicly, but for every one of these criticisms of you I allow, there’s at least 5-10 responses to your personally attacking posts that I delete, because they are farther into TOS issues than my factual refutations of your posts.

      1. I’m personally not dumb enough to try a “non-chain” restaurant… under kate Brown- yer gonna go broke as she is clearly of the Obama Hopey Changey mindset of… “you didn’t build that” !

    1. Ummm really ? How much are you willing to gift an irresponsible business owner that keeps all their valuables outside on warm summer nights ? Sorry- but if I do an RCA- this is on the owner for not securing their property in a high crime area !

  5. I saw the ad yesterday and knew it was fake. I see fake ads all the time, mostly on Facebook Marketplace, and just laugh that anybody would believe them. I wonder what Craigslist policy is vis-a-vis co-operating with police?

  6. Anybody who helped themselves to whatever after operating hours is obviously guilty of theft. Regardless of any online ad. And if caught should be prosecuted. If they use the online ad excuse, then why didn’t they grab the items during regular hours?

  7. It’s posted on Craigslist…. Gotta be true. Everyone git in the truck. Free furniture. Our lucky day… sheesh. LaPine folks in rare form.

  8. OMFG! Can’t you peeps go a day without bitching about every little thing?! Always cutting each other down or see who can make their chest feathers ruffle the most? It is petty. Life these days is stressing enough! Give it a rest already!! Let the police do their job. Whoever took the stuff, please return it. End of story. Do the right thing.

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