The owner moved to tears. The police call it “head scratching.”
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A Sunriver restaurant is missing half of its outdoor furniture, after a fake online ad claimed they were closing their doors and asked people to come in and take whatever they wanted.
Laura Bliss is the owner of South Bend Bistro, which is now half empty.
“I’ve put my whole life into this,” Bliss said Thursday as he tried to hold back tears. “Sorry, I’m a little emotional over there.”
Bliss bought South Bend Bistro in 2017, and she’s worked there every day since.
“I’m the one behind all this restaurant, and it’s my kid, so it was really hard. With everything we’ve been through as a restaurant over the past few years, to wake up to this — it’s so frustrating,” Bliss said.
Security footage of the restaurant Thursday morning showed people taking out tables, chairs, umbrellas, plants, heaters and propane tanks.
“Usually this is full of tables and umbrellas,” Bliss said, pointing to a half-full patio. “They hit our farms and took our plants.”
Why did this happen? Police said that due to a fake Craigslist ad that claimed South Bend Bistro was closed and that all furniture needed to go ASAP, it could be taken away for free.
For Lieutenant Michael Womer of the Sun River Police Department, this was a new one.
“That’s a head scratcher,” Womer said. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years, and I’ve never quite seen this before.”
Sunriver Police are requesting a subpoena to declare and investigate whether it was a form of political retaliation.
“There seems to be some initial information to suggest there may be a dispute with the previous owners, but it’s too early to tell if that’s legitimate at this point,” Womer said.
Bliss has said she thinks it’s about the previous owner, and she’s pretty sure she didn’t do anything publicly to piss off anyone.
I am not part of any organization. I’m just raising a family and running a business, that’s all I’m here to do,” Bliss said.
With the weekend officially beginning summer, the restaurant is now missing half of the tables and chairs on its rooftop, one of its most popular spots.
“The noise is good, the atmosphere is good,” Bliss said of the season so far. “Then I woke up this morning because that was awful.”
Some people have already started returning things, without facing any legal penalty.
Depending on the amount returned, Bliss could cost close to $4,000 to replace it completely.
NewsChannel 21 wondered if Bliss could replace them all.
“No,” Bliss said. “This hits hard.”
Sunriver Police said if you have taken any items please return them. You will not face any legal penalty for the fake advertisement.
However, if you learn that the advertisement is false, there may be legal repercussions.