QuarterWorld owner Phillip Ragaway says a specific thief or small group of thieves has been repeatedly breaking into his arcade machines.
PORTLAND, Ore. — You can add arcades to the list of Portland businesses that have been dealing with chronic break-ins this year.
Phillip Ragaway, owner of QuarterWorld off of Southeast Hawthorne, said he’s been hit by a brazen string of break-ins that all appear to have been perpetrated by the same pair of thieves — more than 40 times since the spring. He said he has surveillance footage but can’t get much help from police.
QuarterWorld has just about every arcade game under the sun, and Ragaway rents out the games to dozens of bars across the city, and he said over the last six months he’s been losing money due to the thieves targeting machines both inside the arcade and at the rental sites.
“Anyone with a crowbar and with a little time and energy, you’re going to get into anything you like,” he said.
The thief is a man accompanied by a woman or sometimes another guy, Ragaway said, and they’ve hit about 40 of the businesses where Ragaway loans out his machines.
He added that it seems like the thieves have been targeting his businesses nonstop, where he said every four or five days he’s dealing with another incident with his arcade machines.
“We’re upwards (of) $15,000 in repairs, and that’s not including the labor,” he said.
The break-ins haven’t just been limited to arcade machines. Jocelyn Dean, who owns Photo Booth Chic, said thieves have targeted her photo booths at least 11 times in the past few months. Like Ragaway, she rents out machines and has them in various bars across Portland.
Dean said she also has the thieves on surveillance; she caught a pair of them a couple of times at Paymaster Lounge in Northwest Portland.
“I have high resolution pictures and video of them, and I pass out pictures to everyone I know, not just where I have photo booths, and most people recognize them,” she said.
Despite the video evidence, Ragaway and Dean both said they haven’t gotten very far with police. They’ve filed police reports, but according to Ragaway they’ve been told there’s not much the authorities can do. KGW reached out to Portland Police about the break-ins, but we haven’t yet heard back.