A popular Austin coffee shop and restaurant is asking for help after a vandalism incident. At around 10 pm on May 27, an unknown man shut down the power at the Sa-Tén Coffee and Eats at 4917 Airport Blvd., causing the shop to lose several days worth of product.
Director of operations Elizabeth Hyman tells CultureMap that the alleged culprit first visited the eatery around 4:30 pm on Memorial Day, exhibiting “very odd behavior” that made the employees uncomfortable.
The person reappeared around 7:30 that evening and attempted to buy a banana with an arcade coin. After the barista on duty told him that the currency wasn’t accepted, he sang a few bars of The Beatle’s "Let it Be."
Before leaving, the man also commented on the missing letters in the custom-made sign, which had been stolen a couple of months prior. The barista remembers mentioning to the man that the person responsible had been caught with help from the security cameras.
When the opening crew returned the next day, more of the sign’s letters were missing, and the power was cut-off. Due to the milk and other perishable foods reaching unsafe food temperatures, Sa-Tén had to throw out the entire stock and scramble to work with suppliers to replace it. Considering restaurants' razor-thin margins, such losses can be devastating.
Security cameras were able to gather some footage before the breaker box was sabotaged, showing the same man walking toward the sign and the breaker box. The man was also spotted the same evening at nearby Komé, where Sa-Tén co-owner Kayo Asazu is also a partner. In addition, a Sa-Tén employee reports being followed by him for several blocks while walking home.
Hyman describes the man as around 5’10” in height, in his early to mid-50s, and with a prominent belly. Those with information can contact Sa-Tén at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Austin Police referencing case number 19-5021680. Screen shots from security footage can be found on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Fans can also support the restaurant by stopping for a coffee or a curry bowl. Thanks to quick action from the staff, the restaurant was able to quickly resume normal hours.