Rising beef prices are no joke for local barbecue restaurants, and Austin could have another meat thief on the loose. Police seek James Avery in connection to a series of thefts from local HEBs. According to KXAN:
James Cordell Avery, 47, is accused of stealing from at least 19 HEB stores, 13 of which are in the Austin area. Police say the thefts started over the summer and that he took more than $2,000 worth of meat.
Additionally, The Statesman reports police believe the meat is being sold to local restaurants:
Detective Rickey Jones said Avery will fill up an entire shopping cart with meats, usually briskets, and then wait for a clear path to walk out of the store without paying...
Because of the quantity of meat stolen, Jones said it was a safe assumption that Avery was selling the meat to a restaurant.
"I have yet to know a person who could eat that much meat in that short of a time," Jones said.
This is not the first time HEB has been plagued by the city's hunger for brisket. In 2011, the city shut down East Austin icon Sam's BBQ and several other restaurants after alleging their employees had been involved in stealing meat from, yes, HEB.