At least three food trucks parked along the Bangor waterfront have been burglarized or vandalized since late July, prompting the city to install security cameras in the area while police hunt for a culprit.
The suspected thief or thieves have avoided stealing cash, and have mostly pilfered sodas and bags of chips from two trucks and their outdoor coolers, according to the burglarized vendors, Pompeii Pizza and Casa Mexicana.
Both vehicles have been damaged in the process, and Pompeii has been hit the most times — on at least four occasions.
Gabriel Muro, who owns Casa Mexicana, said he first discovered damage the morning of July 20. “I went to an event that day, and I went with broken window,” he said.
Someone also tried to break into the Wild Cow ice cream truck but failed, employee Ben Robson said. In a likely attempt to crawl in through a rooftop window, the culprit rocked the truck from side-to-side and caused ice cream bars topple off a cooler shelf, he said.
The waterfront has been the scene of a larger spree of vandalism since mid-July, including an incident where someone threw at least two of the park’s picnic tables into the Penobscot River, according to police and Muro. Police suspect juveniles are responsible for the tossed benches, and some reported damage to the gate near the river dock, according to a police incident log.
That area, which is directly across from the new Bangor Savings Bank building, has blossomed over the years into a popular lunch spot as the number of food trucks has grown.
The vendors are responsible for securing their trucks when they sit on the street overnight. Until recently, burglaries and vandalism were rarely, if ever, a problem, the vendors said.
“We’re very hopeful this is an isolated issue,” said Tracy Willette, director of Bangor Parks and Recreation.
During the past few weeks, his department has installed two trail cameras — which are battery-powered and used for hunting — near the trucks, he said. So far, they haven’t caught anyone on camera that has led police to identify a suspect.
The city also plans to add more sophisticated security cameras that will be hooked up to the existing security system that observes other parts of the waterfront, Willette said.
In the meantime, some vendors have bought their own cameras as well as more locks, and they’re removing cash from their vehicles before they leave for the day, they said. One truck no longer parks on the waterfront at night, according to Muro.
The crimes haven’t irked Muro to the point where he’s willing to incur the inconvenience and wear-and-tear of moving every night.
“They’re just making a mess,” he shrugged.
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