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Burglars Target Hillsdale Businesses During Power Outage

[Posted February 26, 2021]

Basics Market, Casa Colima Mexican Restaurant, and A-Boy Electric and Plumbing report that thieves broke windows to gain entry in the early hours of Monday, February 15, during the wide-spread power outage.

With no power, surveillance systems were down at A-Boy, but the burglar alarm was activated and alerted manager Lisa Brown at her home in Beaverton that the store had been broken into at around 5:30am on Monday morning. On arrival, and after digging snow out from the parking lot entrance to get in, she found that thieves had smashed their way in through the glass in the sliding doors at the front entry, taken high-end flashlights from a locked case as well as power tools, and then apparently snagged a large gumball machine on their way out. No trail of gumballs was left behind from the heavy candy dispenser, so Brown guesses that the thieves had a vehicle and were not on foot.

Damage where thieves entered at A-Boy during the power outage on Monday, February 15

Brown says the first employees usually arrive by 5am, but because of the bad road conditions and power outage, they hadn’t arrived yet that morning so fortunately no one was there when the break-in occurred. It was scary enough, she adds, searching the store by flashlight with another staff member to survey the damage and not knowing if the thieves were still in the building.

Basics Market reports that they had a break-in, also through the glass of the front entry, sometime between 7pm on Sunday evening and 7am on Monday morning. Alarm and surveillance systems were not operational because of the power outage. Spokesperson Mary Paganelli says the market’s cooler doors were left open, causing all perishable foods to spoil. It appears that the thieves attempted, unsuccessfully, to drill into the on-site safe. No additional details on losses were made available.

A broken window at Casa Colima.

Employees at Casa Colima arrived on Monday morning to find that they were also victims of the power-outage crime spree. The owners reported on Facebook that front windows were smashed and an ATM machine was stolen from inside the restaurant while the power was out. “It’s been a rough/unlucky 48 hours for our family-owned and operated business. We appreciate your patience and support as we work through repairs and situate ourselves,” says Emily Ochoa, one of the owners, in the post.

The break-in followed the collapse on Saturday of the patio roof at the Tualatin Casa Colima location which damaged all of their patio heaters. A go-fund-me campaign, which had raised more than $2,000 by February 21, shared the following message: “Many of our customers have been asking for a way to support us during this time, and we can’t thank you enough! We love and appreciate the community we are a part of. We intend to use any donations to repair damages, but most importantly to help our employees who have lost hours and wages during this time. The pandemic has created enough challenges for small businesses, but our employees losing hours due to issues such as these only adds to their problems.”

Anyone with information related to the break-ins or security footage from Sunday night through Monday morning is encouraged to call the Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

--Valeurie Friedman


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