(Update: Adding 11th victim)
Cash, tablets taken; burglars broke doors and windows to get in; police believe all the same culprits
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- At least 11 food carts, coffee stands and restaurants were hit by burglars 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 burglaries were reported when 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.
Locations burglarized Thursday night included:
- Café 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 15th Street
- Toasty and Bigfoot Barbecue Co. in 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 9th Street
Miller said Monday an 11th victim of the break-ins had been identified, as a propane tank was stolen at Wagyu Burger Joint, also on Southeast Ninth Street. She had no new information on leads or about any burglaries since then.
Money, cash registers and other items were stolen from multiple food carts those two nights. Bend Police said the crimes have been taking place overnight, leaving 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 hit by the burglar, in hcar case Thursday night. She said that in her 5 1/2 years at 9th Street Village in southeast Bend, she's always felt safe -- until now.
"I felt really insecure when I came in in the morning, my door was busted down," she said. "Kind of unsafe, really unsure that morning."
"It made me feel scared, violated, and it was really disturbing."
In addition to Industrial Joe's Coffee, police took a report of burglaries at El Nava and Nosh Street Food carts, all located at or near Bevel Brewing on SE Armour Road. Miller said the break-ins at or near Bevel Brewing were discovered Thursday morning and the rest Friday morning.
The Bob food truck, in the Silver Moon Brewing parking lot, also fell victim to the early Friday break-ins.
Co-owner Daniel Bruton said., "It makes you feel very vulnerable, and violated, I guess. To have somebody come in and just pick off multiple food carts -- it's not just us you know, it's 10 other carts in town. It makes you pretty 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.
Among the items taken from the other locations were cash, cash registers, iPads, tablets and point-of-sale technology (Square). The incidents caused hundreds of dollars in damage to each of the businesses as well, Miller said.
DIY Cave, and two food trucks in the Bevel parking lot had cash boxes stolen, doors broken off their hinges, and a PA system was stolen from DIY Cave. The businesses suspect the thief in question used a crowbar to enter the businesses, due to the damage sustained to their doors.
"I haven't seen anything like this in quite a long time," she told NewsChannel 21. "And the sheer number that happened in one night is pretty surprising, 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 the suspect is acting alone, as of now.
Miller explained Friday, "We haven't identified who this person might be. We have pretty clear pictures that we attached with the press release, that show pretty clearly his face, and then we have a pretty clear picture of the suspect vehicle."
One bright spot amid the anger, frustration and fear: At Industrial Joe's, Anderson says that one of her frequent customers not only fixed the damage the same morning as the break-in -- they paid for it, as well.
"He printed off some prices for doors, wouldn't take no for an answer," she said. "He brought another guy back, and within a couple hours I 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 had food cart lots reach out to us already and ask us to do additional patrols in those areas, just to keep an eye out" Miller says.
The Bob food truck is among those stepping up their security after this recent incident.
Co-owner Daniel Bruton tells us, "We're doing a bunch of cameras now, we have cameras all over, we're also doing alarm systems, lighting, so if anybody comes around, lights are going to pop off."
Video surveillance images show a suspect and suspect vehicle in the Toasty, Backporch and Bevel Brewing-area burglaries. The suspect vehicle appears to be a BMW or Mazda Miata.
Anderson said, "It was really scary to walk into, and I just hope this isn't the new norm for Bend."
If you believe your business may have been a victim, Miller asked that you contact non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911. Police also asked neighboring businesses to check any video surveillance they may have and share it with them.