OAKLAND, Calif. - The owners of Momolicious said their stolen food truck was recovered in West Oakland near a homeless encampment. The truck was found two and half miles away from where it was taken in Emeryville. The food truck operators said it will take months before the truck is back up and running.
“I feel terrible for what happened to the truck,” said Momolicious Food Truck Co-Owner Sudeep Khatiwada. “I don't feel good about the future of the truck.”
It is the first of two trucks serving food from Nepal. It had been parked in a gated lot in Emeryville. It was stolen Wednesday outside the business’s commissary kitchen. The owners left the keys in the ignition after jumpstarting the truck.
On Friday, a tip came in that the truck had been spotted in West Oakland underneath the freeway.
With Oakland PD escorting them in, the owners drove four minutes into a homeless encampment near West Grand Avenue. The truck, tagged with graffiti, was found wedged underneath the Interstate 880 overpass. It was so stuck that tow truck operators had to remove the wheels to tow it.
Oakland police scoured the area finding the truck but not the culprit. It was found among more than a dozen abandoned cars suspected stolen.
“There were no doors, no engines, no seats, some upside down with graffiti,” said Momolicious Food Truck co-owner Anup Bajracharya. “We thought if we had found the truck later that would have been the situation with our truck also.”
Inside the food truck, key equipment was missing including steamers from Nepal to cook Momo dumplings.
“When I went inside, I was so emotional,” said Khatiwada. “I almost cried seeing what they did to the inside.”
They estimate the extent of damages is tens of thousands of dollars. Insurance will cover some but not everything. It happened at the worst time, summer, which is their busiest time of year.
“This time was already tough for us due to Covid-19,” said Khatiwada. “This disaster has set us back, way back.”
Surveillance video from the Emeryville lot didn’t capture the theft. The owners have a second truck and will be serving lunch starting Thursday in San Francisco at Embacadero Plaza. They’re asking customers to support them at this time.