PORTLAND, Ore. -- Food cart owners are baffled at how a burglar broke into their businesses.
Some of the cart owners say they've been hit before, but not like this.
Randy Richardson and his wife Sabrina Zhang couldn't believe their eyes when they showed up and found their food cart near the corner of Southwest 10th Avenue and Alder Street had been broken into.
“What they did was knock the fan off the top of the cart,” said Richardson.
Then he said the thief somehow squeezed themselves inside.
“[They] came in through a hole about this big around,” Richardson said as he held up his hands.
“It's a small hole but they got in from there,” added Zhang.
Whoever it was, rifled through some papers. Richardson believes they were trying to find money. They only stole some loose change, and maybe a soda.
“It's super frustrating because we're all just small, locally owned independent businesses,” Richardson said. “We’re not a part of a corporation or anything. So we’re all fending for ourselves here."
In another bizarre twist, Richardson said it appears the thief even tried to use some cleaning solution in the cart to clean up before they left.
“They filled up a spray bottle, probably to cover up whatever footprints or whatever they left behind… and they stacked these pans up nicely too which is kind of weird,” said Richardson.
The ordeal is disappointing for the couple. They quit their jobs to pursue their dreams of opening Bao Bao, the food cart they opened just six months ago.
“We make handmade steamed buns. It's traditional Chinese food,” explained Zhang.
They say seven food carts were hit in their pod.
One of the other burglarized food carts is Bibo's Philly Cheesesteaks. But at that cart, the thief took out the air conditioning unit to get in.
“When they stepped up here they reached with their hand and they unlocked the door,” demonstrated Ehab Hanafy, the owner of Bibo’s Philly Cheesesteaks.
Hanafy said, like the other carts, whoever did it only took some change and a few bills. Breaking in just isn’t worth it.
“I guess the person who done it, I guess he's really desperate,” Hanafy said.
But there was a moment today that seemed to restore Zhang's faith in people. During the interview, a man stopped to give her a random gift.
It was a fleece blanket. A note attached to it read, “You are special.” It was a bit of holiday cheer that helped brighten up a tough morning for Zhang.
Still, Zhang is concerned about the security of her cart and the other carts around her.
Hanafy said he’s thinking about chaining up his air conditioning unit or maybe adding extra locks to his doors.
Police are looking for any surveillance video or information that might point to whoever was involved.