The Cart Burglars have struck again. A burglary spree at North Killingsworth's Piedmont Station Food Carts marks the sixth food cart pod to be hit by thieves in the past two weeks.
"Everybody's walking around looking dazed," says Original Halibut's food cart owner David Mackay.
Several food carts at the Piedmont food cart pod on Northeast 6th Avenue and Killingsworth Street were broken into or damaged late last night—including PDX Dönerländ, Original Halibuts, Burmasphere, and Ringside Taco—cutting locks, prying open doors and stealing electronics and, in some cases, cash.
Some carts were able to open today, while others were delayed.
PDX Doenerland is again open, as of noon.
The burglary on Killingsworth is only the latest in a rash of food cart pod break-ins.
"It's a bit of a crime spree," says Laurent Albouze of beer cart Le Tap, also at the Piedmont pod.
Police have not been able to verify any connections among the string of overnight food cart burglaries, writes police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.
Police did announce today that detectives are investigating the string of burglaries, and report that mostly minor valuables were stolen from the many burgled carts, notwithstanding lost business and the damage done to the carts.
But according to Mackay, a concrete-mounted ATM located at the pod was also emptied.
"They tore out what they could from the ATM machine. They ripped that sucker apart. They were very skilled," Mackay says. "They're professionals. There's not a way you can get at it—it's surrounded by concrete. These guys—they're the real deal. It's pretty brazen to get into a place right across from the [North] precinct."
The thieves at ripped off the covering to the ATM lockbox before popping the vault.
"It didn't matter how strong your lock was. They know how to get into carts. They've got it down," says Albouze, who believes his cart escaped being robbed only because its door faced the police precinct. "The ATM—there wasn't a scratch on t. It looked like they had electronically manipulated it. There were no dents. It looked like somebody left it open."
The North Precinct is located at 5th and Emerson, about a block away from the pod. The thieves apparently cut their way in through a chainlink fence, and according to Mackay they were able to mostly avoid detection by security cameras.
"There are cameras," Mackay says. "We can look at 'em, but they're smart. They're hiding behind carts. People who had cameras in their carts, they came in and took the machines."
"We're all upset," Mackay says. "It slows down the business, I lost a sale because I didn't have a register. It affects us a lot. What I'm going through, not having sales…. I had to cancel the telephone. I can't get into my bank account. Losing sales is like getting robbed. It's the same thing….All the cart people, we work hard to make this money. "
He's worried similar burglaries could happen again.
"I can understand how easy it is. You can get 15-16 businesses in one swoop," says Mackay. "To have to go through this especially on a Friday—the business lost, much less what they took. And the angst that everybody has."
"I know the police have bigger problems, but someone could end up getting hurt," says Albouze. "I guess they've got nothing to lose. They're right across from the police station. That's pretty brazen… It's just throwing mud in [the police's] face. "