Copper wire thieves pull the plug on food carts - KPTV - FOX 12

Copper wire thieves pull the plug on food carts

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Thieves are pulling the plug on Portland food carts, and it's not sitting well with the small business owners.

Green Castle food cart lot on Northeast 20th Avenue and Everett Street has been hit twice in the past month. Owners said someone is cutting their power cords, leaving their refrigerators stopped cold.

On Monday night, Moberi owner Ryan Carpenter wasn't making smoothies for customers because he was learning to repair industrial grade wiring.

"I'm doing my best," Carpenter said, as he cut through some rubber casing. "I gathered what tools I could find but I'm not an electrician."

This is the second time his cart has been vandalized by copper wire thieves.

"I came in and had no refrigeration. No water pumps working," Carpenter said.

Next door, the Flying Hawaiian was also hit this weekend.

"It's like cutting power to a restaurant," said owner Rusty Silva.

The food carts could potentially lose hundreds of dollars in produce without their refrigerators running overnight. This time, the owners said the wires were cut early in the morning, giving them time to salvage their food.

On Monday morning, Silva purchased a metal case to wrap around his wire but he's not positive it will stop the thieves.

"If they want it, they'll take it," Silva said. "But we figured if we create obstacles, it may deter them somewhat."

The owners said they've heard about it happening to carts across Portland. The thieves are cutting the wire to sell as scrap metal. They took 18 feet from Moberi, according to Carpenter, which is worth only a few dollars as scrap metal.

The potential damage to the businesses is in the hundreds.

"Every penny is taken into account and there are some serious pennies that went out the door this weekend," Carpenter said.

Replacing the wire alone cost Silva almost $200.

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