Food cart community on high alert amid break-in spree

Food carts on alert after string of thefts

Portland's food cart community is on high alert after three large pods were vandalized and burglarized this week.

It all started with Cartlandia, though the break-in there didn’t make headlines at first.

Ben Goodrich, owner of Cheesesteak Nirvana, assumed it was an isolated incident, adding it's happened before.

“This isn't historically the best neighborhood in town,” he said.

But then the vandals kept going, hitting Portland Mercado and causing $25,000 worth of damage.

Tuesday, police say vandals struck again, damaging 10 out of 16 carts at Carts on Foster.

All three pods are within a few miles of each other, in Southeast Portland.

But further west, at Division and Southeast 28th Avenue, owners know they could be next.

“Food pods, of all things to target, it's really interesting,” said Josiah McGee, of Hapa PDX. “I don't know what the purpose or drive is.”

As a result, some carts are beefing up security, installing better locks on windows and taking all valuables home at night.

Bri Richards, owner of Tortoise & Hare, feels safest just leaving her lights on.

“People are less likely to try and cut a lock if there's a light shining down on them,” she said

Still, food cart owners say they know they'll likely always be viewed as an easy target.

“They're not hurting some major corporation,” Ben Goodrich said of the vandals. “They're hurting some hardworking person that's putting all their time and energy into supporting their family.”

Managers at Cartlandia say the good news is, they have security cameras and they believe they have footage of the guy responsible.

They say police also found fingerprints on the carts that were damaged.

All of that information has been turned over to Portland police. 


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