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Monday, October 23, 2017

Farmtruk Grounded After Generator Theft (with Update)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Farmtruk owner Samantha Mitchell is seeking help to get her truck back up and running. - CHERYL BAEHR
  • Cheryl Baehr
  • Farmtruk owner Samantha Mitchell is seeking help to get her truck back up and running.

Farmtruk, the beloved farm-to-table food truck owned by Samantha Mitchell, who parlayed her cooking there to a gig as executive chef at the Libertine (7927 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-2999), is closed indefinitely.

According to a Go Fund Me page set up by Mitchell, the truck's grounding is the result of a break-in that happened some time during the early morning hours of October 21. The truck had been parked near the corner of Roger and Utah in Tower Grove South between 2 and 9 a.m., Mitchell wrote, when its generator was stolen, together with several smaller items like coolers.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that a woman matching Mitchell's description filed a police report on October 21. A generator and two coolers were reported missing at 9 a.m., the department said in a statement.

Hours later, around 2 p.m., a co-owner of the truck updated the report to say four propane tanks and a burner, "which had been left unsecured on the parking lot," were also stolen. "There were no signs of forced entry to the business," the police statement noted.

As Mitchell explains, this was not the first time Farmtruk was the victim of theft. On Thursday morning, less than two days before the generator theft, the metal components of the truck's hood system were stolen from where they were left out to dry following a cleaning.

Mitchell's longtime Farmtruk employee Abby Evers also confirms that another truck that shares its Tower Grove South commissary space, Locoz Tacoz, was also hit by thieves the very same day that the generator theft occurred. The incident has cast a pall over plans to open a food truck court in the area, although Mitchell says they are still very much supportive of the endeavor.

The theft forced Mitchell to cancel several weekend events and cease operations indefinitely, resulting in a loss of income for Farmtruk's employees. She was seeking $4,000 in fundraising money to make up for those lost wages and to cover the cost of replacing the generator, the truck's main power source.

In the mean time, other food truck owners have reached out to Mitchell with offers to lend equipment that will get her back up and running before she can replace the stolen equipment. Mitchell says her goal is to begin doing gigs by the end of the week.

As Mitchell explains in the GoFundMe post, the theft is particularly poorly timed. Not only was the generator purchased new just a few months ago, but the truck was preparing to go into its slow season, as food truck clientele decreases as the temperatures drop.

Though Mitchell is disheartened by the thefts, she's struck by the outpouring of support she has received from the community. As of publication, her GoFundMe campaign had exceeded its $4,000 goal and is still going strong.

"I'm just very thankful to everyone who has reached out and helped us make our goal," Mitchell says. "It shows what we mean to people, which is very striking. For me, the kindness of everyone is the biggest takeaway from this."

Update: We updated this post soon after it was published to include additional details from the St. Louis police department. We then updated again at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday to include remarks from Mitchell.

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