Local Nonprofit’s Stolen Benefit Prize BBQ Trailer Recovered

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WACO (September 29, 2013)--A $7,500 custom barbecue pit trailer that was supposed to have been raffled off at golf tournament benefiting local scholarships next month in Waco has been recovered, but thieves left it heavily damaged.

The custom trailer was to have been the grand prize in a raffle benefiting local scholarships. (Brazos Education Foundation photo/file)

Officers found the abandoned trailer in an alley near the 2200 block of Colonial Avenue, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Sunday.

The thieves stripped the rims, cutting boards and meat racks from the trailer before leaving it in the alley, Swanton said.

The trailer was taken from a carport across from the foundation’s headquarters, at 2600 Washington Ave.

Andy Ellis, the foundation’s vice President for human resources, said he discovered the trailer was missing Thursday morning.

“We noticed it was gone, and then saw the lock on the trailer had been cut and a part of it was lying in the car port,” Ellis said.

“We phoned police immediately. It’s just heartbreaking and devastating for us.”

The SpaceX Education for Everyone tournament is hosted by the Brazos Education Foundation and the proceeds go to college scholarships for high school students in McLennan County.

Last year, ticket sales in a raffle for a similar pit brought in an estimated $24,000 that all went to area college scholarships.

Ticket sales this year have already reached nearly $7,000 and Ellis says he was expecting them to rise to nearly $35,000 by the time the tournament started.

“It’s a popular item, and people really like it. Now there’s an uncertainty of ticket sales since the pit is gone,” Ellis said.

“We can’t sell tickets without it,” he said.

Ellis says $35,000 would fund at least 10 scholarships for high school students.

The Brazos Education Foundation has ordered a replacement, but is unsure if it will be available for the raffle at the golf tournament.