Thieves target Kitsap Co. espresso stands

Thieves target Kitsap Co. espresso stands
The Rocket Coffee stand on Kitsap Way is one of seven stands in the county have reported burglaries in the past two weeks. (Photo courtesy of Kitsap Sun)
PORT ORCHARD - After two burglaries in the past six months, Jack Romo's coffee stand is about to get a bit of a remodel.

It's not one he's happy about.

He'll be welding some steel to the outside of Grinderfest Coffee on Sedgwick Road, in the hopes thieves won't target his business a third time.

"Now," he said of his customers, "they're going to pull up and they'll have to see bars."

But if it deters thieves, it definitely beats the alternative, he said. The last break-in there Aug. 30 resulted in a broken window, and while no cash was taken, the hit takes its toll.

"It cost $1,000 to get the window fixed, your image is ruined because you got board over the window, and your customers are sad," he said.

Coffee stands have become a thieves' target of late: seven burglaries were reported to local law enforcement in little more than two weeks.

All of the burglaries occurred overnight, and nearly all with a rock or blunt object to smash a window out to get inside the typically small structures. Most made it out with some cash.

Port Orchard Police Commander Geoff Marti said owners shouldn't keep money in the stand overnight. But most find it difficult to do that because the barista opening at 5 a.m. needs change to dole out.

"Basically, they have to devise a system where they don't leave it in the business overnight," he said.

He encouraged owners to take measures to "fortify" their businesses with security measures, such as alarms.

"The harder it is for someone to break into your business, the more likely it is they'll get caught, or move on to something less protected," Marti said.

Those measures are ones Ken Walls is going to take seriously. Walls' Rocket Coffee on Kitsap Way in Bremerton was burglarized Monday. Thieves unscrewed lights around the business to darken the area, then broke a window with a rock to take cash.

"In the economic times we're in right now, every loss is substantial," he said. "But it's more the aggravation of all the time you have to put into it."

Rocket Coffee had also been burglarized previously and robbed at gunpoint in the six years he's owned it, he said.

Romo added one other security measure he's asking his employees and the wider community to take while out and about in Kitsap:

"If you see anything that looks funky," he said, "Call it in."

The Kitsap Sun is a media partner of KOMO News. To read the complete Kitsap Sun story, click here.