Thieves target Seattle food truck businesses

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SEATTLE -- With car prowls up all across Seattle, a group of small businesses say they’re seeing that firsthand. Food trucks have been gaining popularity in Seattle, but in recent weeks, business owners say they've been the target of crime.

Opening up a food truck, serving Taiwanese street food fulfills a childhood dream for Sean Jen, but a dream soon fading after thieves broke into his business twice in the last month.

“They took this rock and smashed the driver side window right here,” said Jen. “I guess they crawled in because the car was locked.”

Jen said thieves stole cash, kitchen supplies and a generator, and he isn't alone. His neighboring Sodo food trucks have also been targeted. But because their business is on wheels, Jen fears they're investigated as car prowls rather than burglaries.

“Basically what it boils down to is that the takeaway for the criminals is that crime pays because there's no repercussion for anything that they do,” said Jen.

Those who work nearby say they've noticed an uptick in Sodo's crime. Gary Meyerson said the thieves appear to be getting bolder too.

“It's a problem,” said Meyerson. “We had an event here a couple of days ago, where a homeless person came in and proceeded to shower, eat and prowl the whole building, stole keys and other property.”

As for Jen, he said the food truck scene is Seattle is just starting to take off.

“It's not getting the same amount of hype as it would in San Francisco or Portland, but it's definitely getting there,” said Jen.

However, with these rash of crimes against them, he fears businesses like his won't be able to survive for long.

“As these things continue and nothing being done about it, I don't foresee I'll be able to continue as a business owner in this way,” said Jen.

According to Seattle Police, the top three neighborhoods seeing car prowls right now are Queen Anne, downtown and Capitol Hill.