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Surveillance video shows Portland chef being carjacked while foraging for figs

Morchella chef Cameron Dunlap said that he couldn't make out faces, but the carjackers sounded young — like teenagers.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A local chef is still shaken after being robbed and carjacked at gunpoint Thursday night while out foraging for figs in Southeast Portland. The entire ordeal was captured on surveillance video from a nearby business.

Cameron Dunlap was heading home from work when he stopped near Southeast 135th and Division to collect figs, a favorite ingredient at his Northeast Portland restaurant, Morchella. He'd parked his car in a nearby lot and stepped a short distance away when another car pulled in.

"There was five people in the car," Dunlap recalled. "Three of them jumped out and surrounded me and were very threatening." 

The surveillance video shows Dunlap speechless, unsure what to do.

"Two of them went and got in my car and one of them pulled a gun on me," he continued. "And that's when I decided I couldn't really do anything about the situation. One of them frisked me and pulled everything out of my pockets. My wallet and my keys. But they didn't see the phone because it was sitting in the figs."

Dunlap said that he couldn't make out any faces, but all of the carjackers were wearing black hoodies or tracksuits. And he could hear their voices.

"They were all yelling and arguing with me," he said. That's when it struck him. "They were children, they were babies. They had to have been (age) 20 or under."

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The robbers in Dunlap's car backed up suddenly and smashed into their other vehicle before racing out of the parking lot, leaving Dunlap to walk 10 blocks home before he could call the police.

"I feel like because there was a gun there they took it much more seriously," he said of the Portland Police Bureau's response."I do think from what it sounds like that they have a decent program of looking for veicheioc 

Police praised Dunlap for not engaging with the robbers or attempting to fight back. A theft detective called him the next day for another report — and then the waiting game, one with which many Portlanders are increasingly familiar, began. Car thefts have been a significant problem in the Rose City these past few years.

Dunlap is now considering carrying a gun of his own for the safety of himself and his son, he said, in hopes that this will never happen again.

While the clock keeps ticking, Dunlap's car is still gone and there have been no arrests in connection with the robbery.

"I just hope I get my car back," he said. "I hope that I can continue doing what I do, I don't really want anybody to go to jail. I've been to jail and it sucks. So I wouldn't put that on those kids — that would ruin their lives."

Dunlap's friend has created a GoFundMe page to financially help him in the time being. You can also help  him by supporting his Morchella restaurant, located 1315 NE Fremont St, Portland, starting Wednesday. 

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