H-LOMPOC

Jun 24, 2013 8:13 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

Businesses vandalized during power outage

A massive power outage left much of the Central Coast in the dark Sunday night.

Power went out around 9:30 p.m. affecting around 145,000 customers from Santa Ynez to Cambria.

Many local police departments called in extra officers because dispatch centers were swamped with calls.

Some communities were hit with some vandalism including Miller and Tunnell Elementary Schools in Santa Maria.

Officials with the San Luis Obispo Police Department say they had no problems, but some businesses in Lompoc weren't so lucky.

"The whole door was smashed in. I'm not sure with what, but it was broken in all the way down," said Jennifer Brooks, Tom's Burgers Manager.

Brooks says thanks to a stranger who called police, the restaurant didn't have more damage.

"It definitely could have been a lot worse," said Brooks.

She says an empty register was stolen, so the thieves got away with nothing.

"People were just out and about looking for trouble. We just happened to get hit," said Brooks.

Tom's Burgers was one of four businesses hit in Lompoc.

"I was kind of shocked," said business owner Cedric Williams.

Williams says nothing was stolen, but his front windows took a beating.

"This is pretty much all that happened. With this window being shattered, couple windows over here with holes in them from throwing rocks," said Williams.

"Things were pretty hectic for a while," said Sgt. Chuck Strange, Lompoc Police Department.

Sgt. Strange says the four businesses were hit right after the power went out in the city.

"I think people who have a criminal mindset think it's an opportunity to take advantage of the power outage," said Sgt. Strange.

But because of calls made by neighbors, two of them didn't get away.

"If it hadn't been for a citizen calling in shadows or suspicious activities in a business, we wouldn't have apprehended those suspects," said Sgt. Strange.

PG&E says the power outage started at the Morro Bay substation, but the cause of the outage is still under investigation.

Power was fully restored by 2:00 a.m.

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