North Austin coffee shop sees community support after vandalism causes $3,000 in damages

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A north Austin coffee shop is asking people to be on the lookout for a man who they say vandalized their store Monday night causing an estimated $3000 in damages.

The coffee shop Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats took to Facebook Tuesday to ask if anyone saw anything suspicious near the intersection of 50th Street and Airport Boulevard around 10 p.m. the night before.

The suspect allegedly sabotaged the store’s breaker box and stripped two of the metal letters from the sign that spelled Sa-Tén on the storefront. 

The damage to the breaker box caused the shop to lose all power. The temperature of the store’s refrigerator rose to 45° forcing employees to throw away all the food and milk stored inside. They say the total cost of the food and metal letters, which were custom-made in Japan, is about $3,000.

Sa-Tén’s operations manager Elizabeth Hyman said this wasn’t the first time the shop was vandalized. A few months ago, someone had stolen two letters off the sign. They still had not been replaced.

Hyman told KXAN, on Monday a man came into the shop at about 4:30 p.m. and asked about the letters. Employees of the store told him the letters had been stolen and the man allegedly asked how they knew that. They told him there was surveillance footage of the vandalism. 

Sa-Tén employees told KXAN that the man was acting strange and aggressive. He allegedly stayed in the area after the interaction and then followed an employee of the coffee shop for a while as he left for the day.

Hyman said the man was seen shirtless on security cameras late Monday evening walking around the store before the power cut out due to the damage to the breaker box. The next day, after the vandalism, the store posted photos of the man they suspect to be the culprit. 

Sa-Tén has seen an outpouring of support from the community since the incident Shaney said, with some vendors providing their next orders for free. People from around the neighborhood have been coming into the coffee shop for the first time after hearing about the vandalism.

Even other Austin coffee shops are helping by encouraging customers to visit Sa-Tén.

“The Austin coffee shop community is very supportive of one another,” said Hyman. “We don’t view each other as competition.

“I definitely think being a coffee shop makes us a little bit unique and more approachable for perhaps transient folks coming in,” said Shaney. “The city has the universal recycling ordinance so part of our plan is to give some of our food to people who may be transient or need it as opposed to throwing it away.”

Sa-Tén is asking anyone with information on the suspect to email them at airport@sa-ten.com, or call the Austin Police Department.

KXAN has reached out to APD on this case but has yet to hear back.

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