white van stealing restaurant equipment in fort worth texas area

The mysterious case of missing restaurant equipment in Fort Worth so far has led to zero arrests and very little police activity, but an upset barbecue joint owner in Fort Worth took matters into his own hands and played the role of detective to track down his missing $30,000 bbq trailer and his work might just bust this case wide open.

“I wasn’t the first, I’m certainly not the last” – Chris Magallanes of Panther City BBQ

New Year’s Day the owner of Panther City BBQ in Fort Worth, Texas awoke to a message saying his pits were missing. He jumped into action and realized the locks were cut and the pits likely stolen. After reviewing security camera footage he discovered a very noticeable white van. He was able to track the bbq pits down still on their trailer about 13 minutes after discovering the theft about 2.5 miles away.

Watch the First Video from WFAA Channel 8 Here:

The pits were found near another Fort Worth restaurant called Daybreak Cafe which opened for business right around the same time of day when the stolen pits would have been dropped off. He asked that restaurant to see their security cameras or talk to their owner but the person he talked to told him that the cameras were dummies and the owner was not there. Chris didn’t like the feeling of it as thought maybe the white van would come back soon to try and pickup the bbq pits so he orchestrated a stakeout.

A few days later the stakeout paid off when the same white van reappeared this time hauling a new trailer with stolen restaurant equipment. The driver over the van got out and went inside of the restaurant then minutes later started loading the equipment into a vehicle owned by the restaurant. Oh yeah, and it turns out the guy Chris talked to is the owner of the restaurant, so he lied to his face.

Shocked, Chris and his colleagues decided to talk to other restaurant owners nearby instead of confronting the suspected thieves out of fear for their safety. This helped them track down other restaurants and help them discover their equipment was also stolen and then they also found camera footage with the same exact white van. This work helped them catch the white van with stolen goods and Fort Worth police were able to arrive in time to find the white van, but the driver had taken off already. Fort Worth PD then impounded the white van and started an investigation.

After word started getting around about the Panther City BBQ theft and the discovery that Daybreak Cafe was somehow involved a second restaurant owner came forward. Paul Checkeye of Grease Monkey Burgers in Arlington, TX came forward to talk about an old white van (pictured above) that pulled up and stole their food truck trailer from in front of the restaurant in Mid-December. After seeing the footage he contacted the Arlington Police Department but the investigation hasn’t gone anywhere so far.

Watch the Second Video from WFAA Channel 8 Here:

Grease Monkey posted about the White Van on their Facebook page on December 14th, pleading with the community to help them identify the thieves.

If you live near the Fort Worth or Arlington areas we urge you to support these local restaurants fighting back against the criminals in their midst.

Will the police make arrests in this case? Was the owner of Daybreak Cafe involved? Only time will tell, for now though the tight-knit restaurant community in the Fort Worth area is paying really close attention to their equipment and working together to track down the crooks robbing them.

If you know anything about these thefts or about the white van pictured at the top of this article please call the Fort Worth or Arlington, TX Police Departments.

Forum discussion on Reddit:

Update on Panther City BBQ Theft
byu/Dead_Purple inFortWorth

Featured image via the Grease Monkey Burgers Facebook Page


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