July 05--Jon Hill had planned to grill a bunch of food for his daughter's birthday party this week, but his plans changed when his Big Green Egg smoker was stolen off his back porch last week.
"We used it about three days a week. I don't know what we're going to do now," Hill said. "Unfortunately, I just don't have another thousand dollars to get a new one."
The Hills received the oval-shaped ceramic cooker as a wedding present six years ago.
It was snatched from its holding table in a matter of minutes.
Although they have insurance, the deductible is higher than the cost of replacing it, Hill said.
He checked a couple of pawnshops, but was told the shops don't accept grills.
The theft happened at about noon June 30 while his family was gone.
A neighbor spotted a gray Grand Jeep Cherokee in Hill's driveway for about five minutes.
The witness tried to get a license plate number, but it was covered by cardboard.
Observant neighbors can be some of the best assets deputies can have in trying to recover stolen property or catch thieves in the act.
"If someone sees that suspicious activity, notify the sheriff's office and try to get as much detailed information as possible without getting too close," said Lt. Sean DeFoe, a public information officer for the Bibb County Sheriff's Office. "You know your neighbor best, so you know who should be coming and going."
Theft of barbecue grills are rare, DeFoe said, but he did know of at least two reports of Big Green Eggs being stolen last weekend.
Hill's Ingleside Neighborhood Watch community alerted folks of at least two taken in their area.
DeFoe recommends securing your property as best you can and make sure lawn mowers and other landscaping equipment is locked away.
Using an engraving tool to put your driver's license or other identification on expensive items can help stolen property be returned to its owner.
People can call the sheriff's office to inquire about Neighborhood Watch groups and ask for a home security survey, too.
Officers will visit to inspect the home and yard while making suggestions on ways to keep property secure.
Those going on vacation can also ask for increased patrols while they are away. Travelers also should stop mail and newspaper delivery and keep a light burning in the house, DeFoe said.
If Hill can afford to replace his Big Green Egg in time to smoke the Thanksgiving turkey, he wonders how he could secure the 100-150 pound cooker.
"I guess I could get a chain and run it around the hinge," he said. "It's a shame I'd have to go through that."
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.
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