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East Austin's la Barbecue reports third robbery in three months

A person who appeared to be leaving a minivan reportedly robbed East Austin's la Barbecue. (la Barbecue/Instagram)

East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.

In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.

"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"

The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.

"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."

Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.

And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.

Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.

"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."


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