Not even one week after opening for the season, Penticton’s Taco Del Norte was the city’s latest victim of a break and enter and theft from a business.
Nik Dos Santos, 25, recently purchased and renovated the eatery, located at 85 Backstreet Blvd., and opened its doors on April 18. In the early hours of April 22, Dos Santos said the business was broken into and, aside from causing some minor property damage, the suspect or suspects took off with a $1,000 generator. However, it was recovered and returned two days later.
“It’s a little bit of a downer for a start to my season. I’m 25-years-0ld and just graduated from university so I kind of put all the pennies I had together to make it work, and then someone steals a generator worth $1,000 it kind of puts a damper on things,” said Dos Santos, prior to the generator being found.
Dos Santos said the exhaust vent of his taco trailer “was mangled a little bit” because he thinks they were “trying to see what was inside.”
“I think they were scoping it out a couple days before because I had noticed it was dented, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the trailer too much because I haven’t had it running this year,” said Dos Santos. “So I opened on April 18 and closed it down for Easter and then on April 22 my cousin went to the grocery store to get groceries for today and she said she saw someone had cut the locks. They had gone through the whole trailer but, that I know of, they didn’t really steal anything big inside of it, besides breaking a couple things and one of the windows. And some electrical damage from them just ripping the generator out.”
Posts on social media had Dos Santos hopeful he may be able to recover the stolen generator, since someone spotted a generator outside of the business and snapped a photo to see if they could locate the owner. The photo shows the generator along the side of the road, next to Tacos Del Norte, with a blue jacket on top of it.
While he doesn’t know who committed the crime, Dos Santos said he was speaking to a homeless man today who said he knew the homeless man that is allegedly responsible. Dos Santos said he did not get a name from this person, but they did reference the blue jacket as a clue.
“He said he knew who stole the generator (allegedly), he didn’t give me his name but said the guy causes nothing but trouble for the residents of Penticton. So he said to watch out for him because he might be nice, but he’ll steal from you,” said Dos Santos. “He knew it was this one person because he asked what colour the jacket was and said he knew why he left it with the generator. He said (allegedly) the person will steal stuff and leave his jacket on it as a symbol for someone to come pick it up.”
A first-time business owner, Dos Santos said he was prepared to face some hardships but couldn’t help but see the irony of the timing of this crime. He said as a result, he plans to be more cautious and that while he’d like to continue to have a good relationship with the homeless community, it is a good reminder to stay vigilant.
“Before I opened my business, I knew that Penticton was pretty bad for thefts. You read in the newspaper all the time. And I had looked into a camera system last week but I hadn’t gotten a quote back for putting a couple cameras and an alarm system in so it’s ironic that I got broken into the same week,” said Dos Santos. “Our location has quite a bit of homeless people around there, and in the evening I will go out there and offer them tacos before we close down. So I try to be nice to them.”
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