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."
Austin's May ballot will include an initiative to officially decriminalize marijuana and ban "no knock" warrants after a petition from Austin organization Ground Game Texas gained enough signatures.
The group said Monday that the city clerk has certified the petition. The petition included over 33,000 signatures, 23,000 of which are registered voters.
BREAKING: Weed is on the ballot in Austin!
City Clerk just certified our Austin Freedom Act for the May 2022 ballot. We’ll get to vote on decriminalizing marijuana and banning “no-knock” warrants.
Click below for details. And please share the news! https://t.co/bH3xrnh4xN
— GroundGameTX (@GroundGameTX) January 10, 2022
The new ballot measure calls for bans on ticketing or arresting people with small amounts of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia unless it is related to a bigger charge. It'll also ban "no knock" warrants and stop the city from paying to test substances suspected of being marijuana.
The Austin Police Department ended most arrests and ticketing for personal marijuana possession in July 2020. The measure would solidify it as more Texans and Texas politicians begin to support minimizing marijuana-related drug charges.
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said at an Edinburg campaign presser that he wasn't interested in imprisoning Texans on minor pot charges.
"Prison and jail is a place for dangerous criminals who may harm others, and small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with," Abbott said.
If passed, Austin will join 27 states and other major cities, like Atlanta, in decriminalizing weed. Eighteen states have fully legalized the non-medical use of the drug. According to a November 2021 survey of 2,067 Texans from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, 67% of Texans polled believe in legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
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Austin first responders had a chaotic start to the New Year, beginning with more than 120 calls to the Austin Fire Department before 2 a.m. and a car crash that left one dead this morning.
Calls to AFD started before midnight and over a hundred were made in the first two hours after midnight, including a house fire and 18 dumpster fires.
Some fires were caused by New Year festivities, like an East Austin blaze that started after fireworks were discarded in a trashcan. Firefighters were able to contain and extinguish the fire before it spread past the fence.
AFD and firefighters from Kyle responded to a brush fire in Buda around 10:40 p.m. The flames were put out and believed to be caused by fireworks.
Firefighters responded to a Sheraton Ave. house fire early this morning, rescuing a dog that was home alone with ATCEMS treating a bystander who was injured while trying to break the windows.
Working fire on Sheraton Ave, fire is under control. One dog rescued. Appears no one else home at time of fire. @ATCEMS treated one bystander who was injured while breaking windows. pic.twitter.com/jTA4ngffOd
— Austin Fire Info (@AustinFireInfo) January 1, 2022
And around 6 a.m. this morning, the first traffic fatality of the year was reported by Austin-Travis County EMS. A driver crashed into a tree, which caught fire, and died shortly after.
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