A series of food truck break-ins around Austin during the latter half of 2021 has caused some local business owners to continually increase security going forward.
At least a dozen mobile food businesses have been vandalized and robbed in the last five months, adding another unfortunate trend to the host of ongoing pandemic stresses. While there’s currently no statement from the Austin Police Department to suggest all these robberies are connected, a number of food truck parks and parking hot spots have had multiple trailers robbed in single nights. Eater has reached out to APD for more information.
One such robbery occurred on August 3 at Thicket Food Park in South Austin. According to a report by CBS Austin, food trucks Brooklyn Breakfast Shop, Revolution Vegan Kitchen, Antipasta Italian, Shirley’s Trini Cuisine, Midway Dogs, Stellar Coffee Trailer, Dog Treat Truck, and the Refill Nomads were all broken into and vandalized to some degree during an early morning spree.
Another mass food truck robbery occurred at Arbor Food Park in East Austin the night before Thanksgiving, during which Cuantos Tacos, Shelton’s Cafe, and Sammataro Pizza all experienced some kind of break-in or vandalism.
Highland taco truck Paprika ATX was broken into on two separate occasions in August, resulting in approximately $2,000 worth of stolen cash, personal belongings, tools, and food. Since then, owner Margarito Pérez has spent around $1,000 to improve the truck’s security.
“I think the biggest effect has been the sales we’ve missed by closing on the days of the robberies,” Pérez tells Eater. “Additionally, it took a pretty big mental toll on us for a while knowing that there wasn’t a whole lot we could do to prevent further thefts.”
Now, Pérez operates with a more vigilant mentality, remaining hyper-aware of what is kept inside the food truck and taking away anything remotely valuable at the end of each service. Additionally, Paprika now only accepts card and contactless payments to avoid keeping cash on hand.
Fernando Marri, the owner of Brazilian street food truck Boteco, has had to take similar efforts to fortify his truck after numerous break-in attempts. The truck has been robbed at least nine times at its East Sixth location, according to a recent Instagram post.
“We keep buying stronger and stronger locks and chains, but unfortunately, if someone wants to break in, they can smash the windows and find a way in,” Marri tells Eater, who compares this issue to those he faced during his upbringing in Brazil.
Central East Austin taco truck Discada was broken into on November 22, after it had just reopened following a business-halting car crash earlier that summer. During the same fall night, break-ins occurred at Anything’s Baked Potato, parked nearby on Rosewood Avenue, and at a Veracruz All Natural trailer on Webberville Road.
“It was mostly just property damage that affected us,” Discada owner Anthony Pratto tells Eater. Pratto’s advice for other food trucks at risk of being hit includes getting a security camera, re-evaluating locking systems, and taking valuables off-site at the end of the night.
Additional reporting by Erin Russell.
- Multiple Food Trucks Vandalized, Robbed Overnight in South Austin [CBS Austin]
- Several Austin Food Trucks Burglarized, No Suspects in Custody [FOX 7 Austin]
- Austin Food Trucks [EATX]