After break-ins and forged check, what’s next for Charleston food truck business
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Two food trucks, two nights of break-ins and one forged check has all added up to a massive headache for one Charleston area food truck company.
Area 51 Foods, LLC, operates numerous food trucks in the Charleston area, and they say in the nine years they’ve been in business, they have never experienced anything like this.
“I feel lucky before, but now I feel violated,” Eric Nelson, co-owner of Area 51 food trucks, said.
A report from the Charleston Police Department states it all started around 11 p.m. on Aug. 14. Security cameras from a nearby business captured two young men who police say were the ones who broke into two Area 51 food trucks that night.
The men stole $250 in cash and coins and the following day, a different person tried to forge a check at a nearby bank from one of the business’ checkbooks. Days later, Ring camera footage captures a fourth suspect inside one of the food trucks again.
“It’s mind-blowing,” employee Rhonda Bowen said. “It’s just, you don’t know if you’re being targeted.”
Nelson says since this, they’ve had to change their business operations and think ahead.
“Before it was just, ‘I’m doing this, I’m doing this, I’m doing this,’ and now we have checklists,” Nelson said. “Better lighting, better cameras... Making sure that they’re working when we leave. Making sure that lights are brighter. Things we are working on now is going to make things better.”
As a co-owner for the last nine years, Nelson says the bigger your business gets, the more of a target you can become.
“I mean, I’m upset that it happened,” Nelson said. “I’m kind of mad that it happened. To me, if these people actually knew us and what we did for the community and stuff, this would not happen.”
Moving forward, Area 51 wants the public to be aware.
“My signature was forged, and I think we have enough that if the public can see what we have that they can be identified,” Bowen said.
The Charleston Police Department has already identified one male suspect based on their report. They are still looking to identify three others and say they will continue to follow up on all available leads to bring closure to this case.
“It happened to us; it can happen to you,” Nelson said. “That simple.”
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