MADISON, WI – When Nate Overland opened the Métropolitain food cart in April 2017, he mounted a generator to the cart’s frame and secured it with two Kryptonite bike locks. He expected that would be enough to stop any thieves and didn’t give it much more thought.

But on Labor Day — one of the few times the husband-and-wife duo that runs the Métropolitain has off — a group of people stole the generator that is vital to keeping the restaurant-on-wheels running.

The theft is a part of a series targeting Madison food carts, Overland says. The crimes can be crippling to the success of a food cart, whose owners operate on some of the thinnest profit margins.

“Basically, it wiped out my mortgage payments for the year,” Overland says. “When you’re one of the smallest of the small businesses with this type of food cart model, if someone comes in and takes that kind of chunk of cash away from you, it’s rough.”

The theft potentially cost the business about $10,000, some of which was covered by insurance.

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