A Bend business located near homeless camps says it has lost nearly $10,000 worth of equipment through theft and vandalism.
The manager believes the thieves come from the camps along Hunnell and Clausen roads.
He wants the problem addressed and has reached out to the city for help.
“They’ll walk up to the vehicle, daylight or night time. They’ll come underneath. They’ll cut the cables and grab my batteries,” said Michael Edelblut, manager of Standard TV & Appliance. “They break the lock that’s on here. Then they grab the batteries, put them in a shopping cart and they the roll off to where they are living behind us.”
What does it cost you to replace these?
“This is anywhere from $200 to $350 every time a vehicle is broken into,” Edelblut said. “This vehicle has had this done three times.”
Edelblut says every Standard TV and Appliance vehicle has been broken into or vandalized multiple times.
Batteries are stolen.
Gas is either siphoned or tanks punctured to drain the fuel, requiring complete replacement of the tanks.
Tires have been stolen and the vehicles left on blocks.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s cars out here or not. They’ll go to town, take it all then leave in a shopping cart,” he said.
And nobody says anything?
“No. No one stops. No one says anything.”
When delivery vehicles are out of service, customers wait longer for appliances they have purchased to be delivered.
Others who are coming to the showroom to shop for new appliances have to run a gauntlet of homeless camps.
Eldelblut said some customers don’t feel safe coming down Hunnell Road.
“First time customers have told me they fear because people have stepped out in the front of their vehicle as they are coming down the road. They didn’t know it was like that because they can’t see it from the front of my business until you are behind me because it’s the only way to access my business.”
Edelblut says he participated in the city’s recent emergency meeting about homelessness and didn’t get any responses that address his concerns.
“They never answered my questions. They sent me a message stating, hey, that’s for another time. Right now we are trying to come up with a five year plan for the homeless. I’m like, in five years, if this keeps happening to my business, I may be out of job because no one wants to come here. It takes both sides to make this work. We need to come together.”
The City of Bend says it is aware of community concerns about homeless camps and has made establishing more shelters a priority.
But until more shelter options are provided, “we’ll continue to see unmanaged camps where there are no bathrooms, garbage service or social support,” city communications director Anne Aurand wrote in an email.
Edelblut says the discovery of a loaded shotgun in the bushes near his business discourages him from attempting to recover the batteries, fuel and tires stolen from his vehicles.