Last Saturday night, a group of dirtbag vandals flipped over La Barbecue's port-o-potties. What the bandits didn't know was La Barbecue caught the whole thing on tape. When they launched an internet manhunt to find the perpetrators, the video went viral, and within hours they had a positive ID on the main culprit. Eater checks in with La Barbecue general manager Alison Clem about the vandalism and its aftermath.
When you posted the video, did you expect to actually find the perpetrators?
We had no idea how big this would get. We got fifteen emails and messages all identifying the same person, the guy with the mohawk. We can't release his name, because the investigation is still in process.
But I can't believe how much people cared. It has over 17,000 views on YouTube. We were on the news three times in Austin, and we made the news in Houston too. It's gross, but it's not that huge a deal.
It's a perfect storm of Austin internet: video, barbecue, entitled vandals.
Right. A lot of the reaction we get from people is, "What's the point of this? Why would you do that?" People are really mad. We're offering a free rack of ribs to anyone who tips us off, but the first woman who gave us an ID said she was just happy to help.
What's the overall cost of the vandalism to the trailer?
It could easily run us a thousand dollars. We have to have Lone Star Latrine out here, and get new gravel. Plus Lone Star's toilets were damaged, which they say could run over a thousand easily on their end. I can't imagine if they'd cost us a day of service.
That's why we want to press charges. If we let it go, this could happen to someone else.
Why did you guys put up security cameras to begin with?
It was Leann's idea, and at the time I thought it was crazy. Though it does make our lives easier. We're out of town a lot for her photography work, and we can check on the line remotely.
We've caught all sorts of weird stuff on cameras. Some girl peed in the alley during SXSW. She thought she was hiding behind a dumpster, but she was right in front of our cameras.
Have things been different here on East 6th, than on South First?
No, actually. Francisco, who does our cooking overnight, was worried he might get hassled. But there haven't been any problems before now. And the other trailers have been really supportive - Way South Philly blew it up on their account, too. Everyone knows how much it would suck to have something like this happen to them.
· Help La Barbecue Find The Jerks Who Flipped Their Port-O-Potties [EATX]
· All La Barbecue Coverage [EATX]