A small organic food market in San Diego’s Del Cerro community is hurting after a major setback: someone stole a trailer filled with equipment from the grocery store’s parking lot over the weekend.
The white, 21-foot box trailer was stolen from Windmill Farms Community Market located at 6386 Del Cerro Blvd. between 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Michael Villegas, a produce manager and buyer at the small business, said he discovered it was gone at around 6 a.m. that day.
Immediately, his heart sank.
“I was sick to my stomach when I had to call the store manager and let him know, you know, that they took everything,” Villegas told NBC 7 Monday. “And we had just purchased some brand new stuff. It’s just a sick feeling to know that – that’s a big part of our business – it could be gone in a second. It hurts.”
Villegas said the trailer was hauled away by a suspect driving a white SUV. Windmill Farms owner Matt Mann said security cameras installed around the business captured images of the suspect’s vehicle, but not of the actual theft of the trailer.
The trailer is marked on its sides and rear with Windmill Market’s logo in big, red lettering. Villegas is hoping someone spots it on the road and police can track it down and get it back to where it belongs.
Villegas said the trailer is used to store tarps, tents, fencing, a barbecue grill and other supplies the market uses when it takes part in community events like festivals and street fairs. The market had just purchased new equipment, which was inside the trailer, in anticipation of the busy spring and summer events seasons.
“It was basically a storage trailer for all of the events we do,” Villegas explained. “We have an event coming up March 31 – the Rolando Street Fair – and I had just purchased a new tarp and, you know, we were all ready to go and now it’s all gone.”
The Windmill Farms trailer is also typically taken to the Fourth of July celebration at Lake Murray in La Mesa. Villegas said the vehicle is a big part of the market’s daily operations.
And, for the small grocer, the theft certainly leaves a mark.
“It’s definitely a big hit for us if we have to replace everything that was in there,” Villegas added. “Having to buy everything all over again will be pretty tough.”
The manager said the market will find a way to move past this and keep attending community events but it’ll just be a lot more difficult now.
A police report was filed Sunday morning. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the Windmill Farms trailer can reach out to San Diego police.