Man caught on camera breaking into La Barbecue on Austin’s east side

AUSTIN (KXAN) – “Do you want me to stand guard?” asks a La Barbecue customer, addressing owner and general manager Alison Clem by name. “I heard about the bad news.”

East Austin’s beloved barbecue has been the victim of a burglary, the third in just a few months.

“My morning guy came around 6:30…and he came around the back and saw the door was open,” Clem recounted. It was January 27 when she got a call from one of her trusted cooks to check the cameras to see if anyone was there.

“I walked through them and saw there was a man who had stopped,” Clem said. Right against the fence, she said he peeked over it, then walked away.

“Then [he] went back to the door and practically destroyed the door and opened it right away,” she described. “How, I don’t know, since there are two locks on it, which we are fixing.”

The man fled with two empty drum shells that held down a tarp at the back of the La Barbecue property, which is tucked away on the corner of East Cesar Chavez and Clara streets.

It’s not the first time they’ve come across this.

Clem said that over Thanksgiving weekend, someone broke into their apartment building and attempted to steal their safe. This person allegedly took a handmade knife, $400 and iPhones. Their safe was also destroyed.

“We have about 15 cameras, we have an alarm, we’re constantly looking, our neighbors are very good at watching,” Clem explained, “and they’re always breaking in and it’s kind of like ‘what can we do about it?’ ‘other ?’ ”

The second time happened a few weeks ago on a cold night.

“I just want to let everyone in the neighborhood know this is happening so they can protect their businesses, their homes, their cars and their property,” she said. “It’s so much loss.”

“It’s January right now and January is historically slower for a lot of businesses after the holidays and everything, so for us to have that extra cash flowing is always tough for everyone,” Clem said.

“I really appreciate everyone who came out and tried to help and all the messages and emails,” she added. “It’s really nice to know that we are very much loved.”

KXAN contacted the Austin Police Department with questions about the investigation. We’ll update this story when we get back to you.

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