Brisket Thief Costs Thousands at Denton BBQ Joint

An attempt to steal meat ended with a fire and a lot of lost meat — and money — for a Denton barbecue restaurant.

Last Friday morning, firefighters had to come to Bet the House BBQ on South Elm Street just before 5 a.m. to put out a fire that started behind the building in the restaurant's smoke house.

Owners said the fire appeared to start because someone left the doors on the smoker open, letting in oxygen that mixed with grease and heat to start the blaze. They didn't believe it was anyone who worked there that would have made the mistake.

When their landlord gave them the surveillance video from that morning, it became clear what happened.

The video files show what looks like a blue or red Honda Fit with a bike and bike rack on the back pull up to the smoker and a man get out of the passenger side. He enters the smoke house and, in just 32 seconds, he grabs a brisket that was cooking inside, tosses it into the passenger seat as he hops back in, and the car takes off quickly.

It's unclear if there was a second person driving the vehicle.

Owners Shawn Eagle and Cody Smithers believe the man must have left that door open, because just 10 minutes later the video shows smoke and flames start to shoot out of the smokehouse chimney as the fire took hold.

The flames ruined all of the meat being prepared in the smoker, forcing the restaurant to close for most of the day; only opening late Friday with the few items they could quickly prepare in time. Eagle said they had also been preparing for a large catering order that had to be canceled.

"Easily $1,500 in sales alone," said Smithers.

"Everything that we had cooking in there ended up on the ground," said Eagle. "We basically lost $600-700 worth of meat."

The restaurant has since added security camera warnings on the smoker as a deterrent.

They hope now someone will recognize the man caught in the video or the car he was driving and point police in the right direction.

Within hours of posting still frames of the video on Facebook, Eagle and Smithers said it had been viewed thousands of times and shared across the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call the restaurant or Denton Police.

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