DALLAS — For Catina and Glen Wilburn, their beloved smoker came first. The idea for a restaurant came second.
“We just started with that smoker even before we thought of the restaurant,” said Catina.
The couple opened Glen's Kitchen six months ago in Oak Cliff. But now the core part of their restaurant is gone.
Glen's Kitchen is normally closed on Sundays and Mondays. When the restaurant opened Tuesday morning, the couple knew something was wrong.
“[Glen] opened the back door, and that’s when he noticed it was gone,” said Catina.
A quick review of their surveillance footage showed someone stealing their smoker around 7 p.m. Sunday.
“Not having that is really going to hurt us,” Catina said. “At this point, we don’t have anything to be able to cook the barbecue with.”
After the couple bought the smoker two years ago, they started selling barbecue plates at catering events.
That success led them to open their own restaurant.
They sold their home in Fort Worth and opened Glen’s Kitchen on Camp Wisdom Road.
The couple relies heavily on their smoker at Glen's Kitchen. Signs on the restaurant's windows tout plates of East Texas barbecue.
“It actually means a lot to us. We started out with just that smoker," Catina said.
The restaurant security camera footage shows a man wearing a red or pink shirt drive up to the alley behind the restaurant. Video shows the man use a tool to remove the lock on the smoker, hitch it to his silver or gold pick-up truck, and then drive away.
The entire process takes about two minutes.
“It’s a horrible feeling to have something taken from you. Something that’s so crucial for your business. It’s horrible,” said Catina.
The Wilburn’s security cameras also caught the pickup truck driving around the front of the business, about one minute before circling around to the back alley to the smoker.
“He seemed familiar with the neighborhood. He seemed familiar with the surroundings and what was going on,” Catina said. “He did not seem afraid at all.”
Unfortunately, their security cameras didn't capture a clear view of the license plate. None of the surrounding businesses has security cameras.
The Wilburns are scheduled to cater an event next week. Unable to afford to a new smoker, they’re hoping someone will recognize the man in the video.
“If [you] know the person, or know the vehicle, please contact us,” said Catina. “We really, really need it back.”
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the business.