Thieves take Shorty’s Hot Dog cart from single dad

Multnomah County

Melvyn Baker's storage trailer, equipment stolen from SE 97th/Center Court

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Melvyn Baker’s full-time job is a ramp agent loading planes at Portland International Airport. But when he does catering and events, he becomes Shorty.

“I have a hot dog cart. I’ve been doing my business since 2007,” Baker told KOIN 6 News. “Push-style cart, like in Chicago. I have an ice cream cart in there as well, popcorn machine and a couple grills along with other equipment.”

He stores the hot dog and ice cream carts in a white, enclosed 6×10 Continental trailer.

Melvyn Baker’s storage trailer for Shorty’s Hot Dogs cart seen in an undated photo provided October 29, 2019

“I use that like my storage facility, you know. So that way I can move around and do my events with it.”

Around 5 p.m. Monday, he “was taking a nap and my neighbor woke me up yelling and screaming, banging on the door saying they’re stealing my trailer.”

Crystal Leslie is Melvyn Baker’s neighbor and spotted his business trailer being stolen, October 29, 2019 (KOIN)

He ran outside his house in the area of SE 97th and Center Court and the thieves were already gone.

His neighbor, Crystal Leslie, said she noticed a “big blue Dodge Ram truck that was kind of blocking my way” as she tried to pull into her driveway. She noticed they were hooking up Shorty’s trailer to the truck.

“I ran towards them and I was like, ‘You’re taking my neighbor’, that’s my neighbor’s trailer!’ And the guy’s like, ‘No, that’s my trailer,’ and I’m, like, ‘No, it’s not.'”

Watch: Melvyn Baker’s Facebook post with video of theft

Leslie said she screamed and made a lot of noise.

A screen grab from surveillance video posted by Melvyn Baker showing his hot dog cart (white trailer) being stolen, October 28, 2019

Baker said he hopped in his car but couldn’t find where the thieves headed. He said his heart “sunk real bad. I’ve even had dreams about that happening.”

The trailer with his equipment inside is worth between $13,000 and $15,000, he said.

Single dad teaching good work ethic

Melvyn “Shorty” Baker has been a single dad for the past 10 years to his kids, who are now 11 and 16.

“My kids’ mother passed away in 2009,” he said. Running Shorty’s Hot Dogs brings him joy and “it teaches my kids, you know, good work ethic and responsibility.”

Melvyn Baker, who owns and operates Shorty’s Hot Dogs, October 29, 2019 (KOIN)

The extra money he makes helps out with his bills, he said.

The hot dogs are good, he said, and he offers vegan dogs, too. “I was born and raised in Portland so I have to cater to the style of everyone.”

He likes being able to meet people and gets the majority of his business from referrals, both in the community and on Instagram and Facebook.

“I just basically want my equipment back,” he said. “I really don’t care about the trailer or anything. There’s nothing they can really do with it because the equipment is so unique. … I’m not like a normal food cart, you know. I’m just like nostalgia-type push cart-style business.”

Melvyn Baker picked up the nickname Shorty as a kid. When he went into business 12 years ago he said he decided “it would be called Shorty’s Hot Dogs. Kind of a catchy name.”

Shorty said the theft of his cart is sad and the thieves “probably did it for money to try and sell the equipment.” He also wonders if they’ve been watching him load and unload his equipment.

He just wants it back. “No questions asked. That’s all I want is all of my equipment back.”

Anyone with information is asked to call PPB at 503.823.3333.

A GoFundMe campaign is raising funds to support Shorty.

Melvyn Baker’s business, Shorty’s Hot Dogs, seen in undated photos provided October 29, 2019

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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