Seattle restaurant’s online ordering system stolen

VIDEO: Seattle cafe hit by thieves

SEATTLE — Thieves broke into Wayward Vegan Cafe early Tuesday morning and stole all the tablets used for online ordering, according to owner Doh Driver. The tablets were essential to keeping doors open during the pandemic.

Driver says the break in happened at about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Thieves cut off the power lines from the outside and removed the lock from the door.

"It's frustrating and disappointing," Driver says, "You feel powerless because if someone can cut the power off from the outside and remove the entire dead bolt assembly, what can you do?"

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The stolen tablets will have a big impact on business moving forward, according to Driver.

"If all we're allowed to do are delivery and pick up orders and now our only method of getting delivery orders has been stolen? That really hobbles us in a way that a broken window wouldn't. We have to wait days before we can address this," she said.

The Seattle Police Department says it has seen a dramatic rise in business burglaries during the pandemic. Stores that were forced to close or limit hours have become prime targets for thieves.

Considering the impacts of COVID-19 to the restaurant industry, Wayward's owner says this burglary really couldn't have come at a worse time.

"We were already feeling so sad by the loss of our community and seeing our regulars and then to add this on top of it is just really disappointing," Driver said.

Wayward is still open for business but without those tablets, ordering food will require more work. The Seattle Police Department’s crime data map shows officers responded to 13 burglary calls within the last seven days.