Thief steals large barbecue from North Bay grocery store

- A North Bay grocery store has been hit with an unusual theft: a 15-foot commercial barbeque used to grill chicken and ribs in front of the market.

It happened last Sunday night just after 11 pm, about an hour after Oliver's Market in Windsor had closed for the evening.

The barbeque was fifteen feet long and weighted about 800 lbs. "How do you steal a barbeque like that?," wondered customer Jim Holleman of Santa Rosa, hearing about the theft as he picked up some barbeque take-out Friday night.

"Whoever can steal that, deserves to have that, look at the size of that thing!"

Surveilance video from the rear of the store shows a truck roll in, and in about 20 minutes time, exit the same way with the barbeque towing behind.

"It was like they had a mission," Oliver's Store Director Laurie Tuxhorn told KTVU, "and he leaves real fast with the barbeque on the dolly and two propane tanks."

Most nights the barbeque is pushed into the back of the store and secured. But it was inadvertently left outside that night.

"The barbeque had to cool, they were letting it cool, and the person who was supposed to bring it in, left it out here," explained Tuxhorn.

The whole set-up was worth about $7,000 and almost new, purchased a year ago when the store opened.

"Obviously I'm assuming they want to sell it, because who would want to put that in their backyard," added Tuxhorn.

Windsor Police posted the surveillance images on Facebook, generating hundreds of shares and heated reaction, many people promising to watch for the distinctive truck.

It was a dark color,late 1990's or early 2000's Chevy SIlverado dually, with orange lights on the top, stickers all over the windows, tie-downs in the truckbed and a brush grill on front.

"We're an employee-owned company so this comes out of our pockets," Oliver's meat manager Mitch DeArmon told KTVU.

The rip-off was more personal than some, because Oliver's is a locally-owned store in a relatively small community.

DeArmon wonders if the thief regrets stealing a grill that can hold 30 pounds of ribs.

"Maybe they saw the opportunity and grabbed it like a crime of passion," mused DeArmon, "and now they're finding out it's expensive to operate, uses a lot of propane, plus how many people have fifty people at their house at one time to cook for?"

The store didn't miss a day of sales, by firing up an old barbeque to keep customers happy. But employees hope to get their shiny new grill back.

And they have the support of shoppers, although some are having trouble taking the caper seriously.

"I think the trail is still warm so I'm going after the thieves tonight," joked shopper David Brooks, "and whoever took it are going to wish they didn't when I get my hands on them!"

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