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Community rallies together after vandal strikes Forest food truck venue

One man’s negative actions bring a community closer

Several food trucks vandalized in Forest
Several food trucks vandalized in Forest

FOREST, Va. – Clean-up is underway after a vandal struck a new outdoor food court in Forest.

At least three trucks were hit, some harder than others, and the person behind the crime even made off with some cash. However, one person’s negative actions are bringing a community closer together.

Jamie Ohler is the man behind the dogs at Papa O’s.

“This is actually our eighth week here,” he says. “They opened up about two-and-a-half months ago.”

He shows up to the Backyard in Forest each week with a motto: Ready to serve, care and inspire. And Tuesday brought a slow start to that.

“As we’re coming around, we usually pull in back here. Mama O started saying, ‘Hurry, just park.’ I’m like, ‘What’s up?’ She’s like, ‘The window’s broken, the window’s broken.’”

A vandal, caught on surveillance video, made his rounds to several trucks in the park early Sunday morning.

“Our window was broken into and our cash register was on the floor,” Liz Hernandez with the Taco Truck says.

The thief got away with whatever cash was left in Hernandez’s register. He also paid a visit to The Pied Piper.

“Pretty messy inside, one of our huge shelves was completely pushed over and they found our safe,” Kelela LaBritton says.

It wasn’t long before vendors were able to clean up and fire the grills back up.

“We haven’t had any problems with crime before. This hopefully is a one-time thing that will pass over,” Backyard Developmental Partner Chip Duff says. “The community came out for the few people that were affected and really helped them out.”

News of the vandal’s hit spread like wildfire and it was the community’s turn to serve, care and inspire.

“Last night I came here to eat, and almost every single food truck had a line,” Adalynn Beard with The Pied Piper says.

Papa O’s says they had more business in a few hours than they typically do all day.

“I know a lot of people are saying, ‘Oh, people suck.’ But it’s just not true,” Ohler says. “People are going through stuff. I would love to find out who did it and see how we can love on the guy.”

A police report has been filed.

Authorities ask that if you have any information on who might have done this, to give the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office a call at 540-586-7827 or Central Virginia Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900.

About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.