Taco truck owners targeted by criminals, organize defense plan
on February 23, 2012
An increase in armed robberies against taco truck vendors has some Fruitvale vendors literally up in arms. When Omar Casillas was attacked outside his family’s Tacos el Mazatlan cart by a man with a gun, he drew his own firearm. Both men sustained non-lethal gunshot wounds.The shooting came just one month after a 5-year-old was gunned down in front of his parents’ Los Amigos taco truck, just down the street.
The Casillas family has declined to speak with media for fear of retribution. But other mobile food vendors say their businesses are being targeted by criminals in their community who refer to food carts–which are open long hours and deal in cash–as “ATMs.”
Shelley Garza, general manager of Rising Sun Entrepreneurs, a company that consults and advocates for mobile food operators, called an emergency meeting of 120 vendors to formulate a defense plan. Those who attended the meeting reached a consensus for several measures, including hiring armed security,wiring surveillance cameras to every food truck and attending trainings by the Oakland Police Department. Vendors will all chip in to fund the plan.
Omar Casillas attended the meeting just one week after he was shot and is already back at work.
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