Aug. 1, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A family-owned food cart that offers Venezuelan fare was stolen from its operating spot in Jackson Heights on early Saturday.
The red-colored cart, called Chamo Landia, was taken at around 12:30 a.m. from the corner of 83rd Street and Northern Boulevard by a suspect, or suspects, using a flatbed truck, according to police and video footage.
Chamo Landia is known for providing cachapas, patacóns and arepas as well as hamburgers, hot dogs, and fruit drinks.
The cart was operated by Jonathan Gomez and his father-in-law Helmer Gelves. Gomez said that his son and daughter also worked in the cart, adding that the entire family depends heavily on it for income. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family purchase a new cart.
The family bought the cart around 7 months ago for $20,000, having started the business from a smaller cart around two years ago, Gomez said.
“It is horrible, it’s our livelihood, we don’t understand,” Gomez said.
He appealed to the public to help them find the cart.
The cart, which was situated in front of Galicia bar, was shuttered at the time of the alleged theft.
Grainy security footage shared on the company’s Instagram page shows the food cart being pulled off the sidewalk while hitched to a dark-colored flatbed truck.
Another security camera then captures the food cart being hauled east along Northern Boulevard by the truck.
Gomez says he doesn’t know why their food cart was targeted, given there are a number of other food vendors operating in the area.
“Maybe they sold the cart – we are waiting to hear back from the police,” Gomez said.
Police told the Queens Post Monday that they have yet to identify a suspect, or suspects, in the case and an investigation is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Martin, a local restaurant owner, set up a GoFundMePage this morning to help the family get back on their feet.
Martin, who is a friend of the family, said he was infuriated to hear about the cart being stolen and appealed to residents to donate to the fund. The fundraiser aims to raise $15,000.
“I am outraged knowing that this is happening… affecting entrepreneurs who want to get ahead and feed the community,” Martin wrote on the page in Spanish.
“As a restaurant owner I know how difficult this is and the sacrifices we make to open every day… and with your help, we will be able to return what was taken from them.”