SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Police are hot on the trail of barbecue bandits who targeted a Smyrna restaurant.
The unusual crime happened early Saturday morning and left the owners of Kinfolks without about $1,500 in meat.
Owner Jerry Britton told News 2 he loaded two grills with a variety of meat around 1 a.m. and left them to slow cook. All of the meat served at the restaurant is smoked off the grill, while the white beans are soaked 24 hours and everything else on the menu is a specialty.
Britton said when he returned about three hours later, about $1,500 worth of meat –including brisket, pork and spareribs – were gone.
“I raised it back up, and it’s gone,” Britton said. “The top was gone, but they didn’t get all the chickens. It was like somebody interrupted them from doing what they were doing.”
The owner said the thieves not only stole from the business but from his family and customers.
“No anger came over me,” Britton said. “I wasn’t mad, I got to laughing and my next step was, ‘Hey, the store doesn’t open until seven. I got to get there, I got customers coming today.’”
Britton said this is the first time anything like this has happened in the three years of being in business.
It’s also a first for customers hearing of someone stealing meat right off the grill.
“That’s pretty sad, it’s one thing you don’t want to hear especially coming from small business owners that put their blood, sweat and tears into their business to do well,” Jay Jackson said.
Britton refuses to be a victim.
“I didn’t want to make myself a victim, and make that an excuse for this restaurant not to run,” Britton said.
Once all the smoke clears, Britton hopes police are able to catch the barbecue bandits. He said he will be adding outside cameras and better lighting which he hopes will help prevent his meat from being snatched right off the grill again.
If you have any information about the barbecue theft, call Smyrna police at 615-659-6644.