For the second day in a row, cart owners at the buzzy new Tidbit Food Cart pod on Southeast Division Street woke up to angering news: The power cords to many of the carts were cut and stolen.
This is just a week after we reported on a similar crime spree that struck cart pods in North Portland and the Foster-Powell neighborhood.
Tuesday night's victims were beer cart Scout, E-San, Namu, and The Dog House, which was hit twice in a row.
Wednesday's night toll was even greater: In addition to The Dog House, Lodekka vintage clothing, Earth Burgers, Tambayan, Ingrid's, Pyro Pizza, and Dragonfly Monet were victims.
Christina Davis of Reworks Design, who conceived, designed and manages the pod along with her partner Aaron Blake, says the thefts are occurring between 1 a.m., when the last cart operator leaves, and 5 a.m., when the first one arrives. The pod's motion-detecting lights don't seem to be a deterrent. "I called East Precinct (police department)," says Davis, "and they said they'd send extra patrol between those hours." Davis says she and the cart owners are also discussing other long-term security solutions.
As Eater reported last week, power cords are valuable to desperate thieves looking to strip out the copper and sell it for a few dollars at scrap yards. But the cords themselves are expensive, and the loss of power can result in hundreds of dollars in spoiled food and lost sales.
Luckily that hasn't happened at Tidbit, as the first cart owners to arrive on the scene have taken quick action to restore power to their neighbors' carts. "We've been able to save everyone's food," says Davis. "That's the most important part."
In fact, all the carts will be up and running in time for dinner tonight, she says. "And it's going to be a gorgeous weekend."