Thief Steals 20 Whole Briskets from Texas Barbecue Restaurant

La Barbecue's general manager suspects that the brisket heist was planned in advance.

A brisket being sliced on a board
Photo: Amy Muschik / Getty Images

"ATTENTION EAST SIDE [AUSTIN]," La Barbecue wrote on Instagram. "It happened again!!" The popular Texas restaurant has been burgled on multiple occasions this year, and this time, the as-yet-unidentified perpetrator made off with 20 whole briskets, which adds up to around $3,000 worth of meat.

Just after 4 a.m. last Thursday, the suspect climbed over the fence surrounding the restaurant, cut off the locks to the barbecue pits, and stacked all 20 briskets in the back of an SUV before making his getaway. ("I am so sick of this," La Barbecue posted on Instagram, along with a couple of time-stamped screenshots from their security cameras.)

"We're kind of speculating that he's been watching [the restaurant]," La Barbecue's General Manager Alison Clem told FOX 7 Austin. "You know, somebody that used to cook for us possibly. We haven't had turnover in our house since we've been here, so it wouldn't be current. So that's also kind of strange that he knew."

Based on how quickly the alleged burglar approached the smoker — and made off with all that meat — she thinks that he must've planned the brisket heist in advance. "I can only speculate that he possibly works for a food truck or a restaurant, I don't know, even throwing a party," she sighed. "I have no idea."

Clem told the outlet that the restaurant had been broken into several times previously, but none of the thieves had helped themselves to meat before. In May, a 32-year-old man was arrested after allegedly smashing a window, climbing inside, and taking a few bottles of booze. "All this for 2 Mexican cokes, several [half-]empty bottles of liquor, a bottle of wine, Momo's [Michelada] mix and a [sic] empty register, which we all got back this time," the restaurant posted on Instagram.

In January, a still-unknown perpetrator broke the gate surrounding the restaurant and stole two empty kegs that were being used to hold down a tarp. Despite being caught on camera, that suspect has yet to be identified or apprehended. La Barbecue had already been burgled two weeks before that, and last November, another perp tried to steal their entire safe. They couldn't get that off the premises, but they did take a handmade knife, several iPhones, and $400 in cash.

"We have like 15 cameras, we have an alarm, we're constantly looking, our neighbors are very good about watching and they still break in and it's just kind of like 'What else can we do?'" Clem told KXAN in February. Anyone who has information about the brisket theft — or about any of the other break-ins — is encouraged to contact the Austin Police Department. And if you're a petty criminal in the Austin area, maybe you could leave this restaurant alone for a bit? They've been through a lot this year.

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