Half of Sunriver Restaurant’s Outdoor Furniture Gone After a Fake Online Ad Says It’s Closing, Come and Get It

Owner to tears; the police call it ‘a scratching head’

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A Sunriver restaurant is losing half of its outdoor furniture after a fake online ad claimed it was closing and urged people to come by and get what they wanted.

Laura Bliss is the owner of South Bend Bistro, which is now half empty.

“I put my whole life into it,” Bliss said Thursday as she tried to hold back tears. “Sorry, I’m a little emotional there.”

Bliss bought South Bend Bistro in 2017 and has been working there every day since.

“I’m the person behind this whole restaurant, and it’s my baby, so it’s been really hard,” Bliss said. “With everything we’ve been through as a restaurant over the last few years, waking up to this–is very frustrating.”

Security footage from the restaurant on Thursday morning shows people taking tables, chairs, umbrellas, plants, heaters and propane tanks.

“This is usually full of tables and umbrellas,” Bliss said, pointing to a half-full courtyard. “They knocked down our planters and took our plants.”

Why did this happen? Police said because of a fake Craigslist ad that claimed South Bend Bistro was closing and all furniture needed to be removed as soon as possible and could be taken away for free.

For Lieutenant Michael Womer of the Sunriver Police Department, this was news.

“This one is a scratch on the head,” Womer said. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years and I’ve never seen this before.”

Sunriver Police are requesting a subpoena for the announcement and are investigating whether it was a form of political retaliation.

“There appears to be some early information that there may be a dispute with the previous owners, but it’s too early to say at this point if this is legitimate,” Womer said.

Bliss said she believes it has something to do with the previous owner, and she’s pretty sure she hasn’t done anything publicly to piss anyone off.

“I am not part of any organization. I’m just raising a family and running a business, that’s all I’m here to do,” Bliss said.

Entering the weekend with the official start of summer, the restaurant now loses half of the tables and chairs on the deck, one of its most popular spots.

“The buzz is good, the vibe is good,” Bliss said of the season so far. “And then waking up this morning to this was awful.”

Some people have already started returning items, facing no legal punishment.

Depending on how much is returned, it could cost Bliss around $4,000 to replace everything.

NewsChannel 21 asked if Bliss could afford to replace everything.

“No,” Bliss said. “And it hits really hard.”

Sunriver Police said if you took any items, please return them. You will not face any legal punishment due to the false advertisement.

However, if you learn that the ad was fake, there could be legal repercussions.

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