Food Crime

Barbecue bandits strike again: Thieves haul off $10,000 pit in brazen break-in

Barbecue bandits strike again: Thieves haul off $10,000 pit in breakin

Melange Catering’s 20-foot-long barbecue pit stolen August 2013
Melange Catering is asking for the public's help in locating it $10,000 barbecue pit, which was stolen on Sunday. Melange Catering/Facebook

Just weeks after authorities recovered chef Ronnie Killen's stolen barbecue pit in Pearland, a well-known Heights catering service is asking for help in locating a 20-foot-long pit taken from its parking lot in broad daylight.

Employees with Melange Catering have been studying surveillance footage of the robbery, watching several brazen men break through the company's metal fence on Sunday around 4 p.m. In a matter of minutes, the thieves hitched the barbecue trailer to their Ford SUV and fled the scene.

Melange sales and marketing director Harold Kelly tells KHOU Ch. 11 that he arrived at work on Monday to find nothing but a lone cinder block where his massive $10,000 pit used to stand.

“It’s huge. We even custom did it so there is a lot of moving space," he explains. "It’s set up like a kitchen.”

The pit has become a fixture at local charity events, including fundraisers for first responders at the West Texas explosion as well as for the Houston firefighters killed in the tragic late May blaze at the Southwest Inn.

“We do a lot of good with this pit," says Greg Richards, a local dentist and competitive barbecue chef who organizes the charity efforts.

"It’s something we are kind of proud of and hate to see go . . . I hate to think scrap metal would become of the pit.”

Melange Catering is asking anyone with information about the custom barbecue pit to call 713-869-0066.

Watch the full KHOU report: