PORTLAND, Ore. — A suspect accused of breaking into at least two food carts in Northeast Portland was arrested Wednesday night, police said.
The suspect, 34-year-old Christopher T. Behurst, faces burglary and theft charges. Police said they're still investigating a third food cart burglary a couple of blocks away from the other two.
The three burglaries happened early Tuesday. The food cart owners say they have surveillance video showing that the suspect first used a drone to scope out the place.
Two of the food carts, Hapa Howies and PDX Donerland, are located in the Piedmont Station Food Cart Pod in the 600 block of Northeast Killingsworth Street.
“It's unfortunate and frustrating why someone would want to do this, especially this latest one because we knew that it wasn't a crime of opportunity,” said Ron San Pedro, the co-owner of PDX Donerland. “They took the time to scope the pod out with a drone.”
The owners said they have had their food carts broken into several times, but this was different.
“This is my second break-in in three months,” said Kiaha Rasmussen, the owner of Hapa Howies. “First one was pretty rough and you just don't think you're going to have another one happen, especially one as bizarre as this.”
The suspect cut a hole in the fence to get in. He was then caught on surveillance video cutting the lock on the door to Hapa Howies. The owners think he first used the drone, because it looked like he knew what he was doing once he got in there.
“Walks right up to my cart and then cuts the lock off, didn't bother to stop or look at it, wasn't confused, like he knew what he was looking for,” Rasmussen said.
That same morning, the owners of Sabor Casero Taqueria Y Pupuseria, which is located just two blocks away in the 5800 block of Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, caught the man in his food cart and took video on his cellphone.
They owners this was the third time they have caught this same man breaking in. They said they also think it's the same person who broke into the Piedmont Station Food Carts because he is wearing the same jacket with the letters “LSC” on the back in both videos.
The man got away with a small amount of cash, utensils, two blank checks, speakers, and the tablets Hapa Howies needs to fulfill delivery orders. Without the tablets they can't fulfill any Uber Eats, DoorDash, or Grubhub orders, which make up a good amount of their business as it gets colder.
It's frustrating because these food cart owners just want to keep doing what they love.
“I love it,” Rasmussen said. “I actually left the corporate world to be doing this and feeding people's been amazing, the customers are great.”
“People don’t take that into account, we're just like everyone else trying to make it. This is our business we don't work for anyone but ourselves,” San Pedro said.
Anyone with information about these burglaries is asked to call Portland police at 503-823-5700.