• Barbecue owner offers $500 reward for information leading to arrest, conviction
By Hannah Heimbuch
When Jack Turner headed to his downtown business on Pioneer Avenue on Saturday, his plan for the morning included delivering a meal to the Homer Fire Department, not cleaning up after a burglary.
But that’s exactly what he found upon arriving at his restaurant, J&B’s Smok’n BBQ, next to Bay Realty.
“They had kicked in my front door, took several pulled porks, brisket, and ribs, and all the side dishes that I normally serve here,” Turner said.
That morning, the Homer Police Department responded to break-in reports at both Turner’s business and the Salvation Army across the street. The crimes likely happened Friday night or in Saturday’s early morning hours.
“It’s early in the investigation,” said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl. “All I can say right now is that both of these cases are under investigation, and that we believe the same person committed both break-ins.”
Turner is hoping video recordings from his east-side neighbor — the Grog Shop — will help police apprehend a suspect in the case.
“They got a picture of two people, on video camera,” Turner said. “They were seen eating my product on the owner of the Grog Shop’s pick-up truck.”
He is also providing an incentive for anyone who does have information to come forward.
“I’m offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of said person or persons,” Turner said.
The perpetrator completely destroyed his door, Turner said, which cost him $400 to replace, then took the filing cabinet containing all of his business records. He estimated the cost of the food products stolen to be around $135, and the cabinet about $125.
The criminal mischief at the Salvation Army started with a broken window, said Homer Salvation Army Lieutenant Jeff Josephson.
“It looks like somebody went through the back window,” Josephson said. “We didn’t see anything missing, but they vandalized the place by setting off a fire extinguisher. They covered the entire back warehouse of the store, and part of the showroom floor.”
The fire retardant covered a huge portion of the floor and merchandise, he said, and while the staff cleaned furiously to get the store ready to open Saturday morning, much of the merchandise had to be thrown out.
“We couldn’t figure out how to get it out of some of the clothes,” Josephson said, “or the electronics that were exposed to it.”
The break-in was short lived for the criminal or criminals, he said, but his store continues to deal with the after effects.
“(For them) it’s just an opportunity to do something destructive,” Josephson said. “We just pay for it.”
Unfortunately the Salvation Army has seen similar trouble in the not so distant past. In September of last year, a burglar left with the Salvation Army safe, making off with the funds that the non-profit uses to help people in need with food, shelter, energy costs and other emergency needs.
“This is getting old,” Josephson said. “This is the third one in eight months.”
Likewise, it is the second break-in in two years for his restaurant, Turner said, and a frustrating experience to say the least.
“It’s been an ugly weekend,” he said. “I had no idea I was going to get up Saturday morning and come down here and find my building kicked in. My heater had been running all night, my coolers had been left open.”
Turner has owned and operated J&B’s Smok’n BBQ in Homer since 2003.
Anyone with information concerning these or other crimes can call the Homer Police Department at (907) 235-3150.
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