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Barbecue hunt goes viral

Posted at 9:28am Monday 11 Jan, 2021

From left, Troy Dunn, chef Greg Adams and Leilani Dunn.
From left, Troy Dunn, chef Greg Adams and Leilani Dunn.

Chef Greg’s hand-built BBQ smoking rig.
Chef Greg's hand-built BBQ smoking rig.

Chef Greg Adams had his livelihood returned to him last month when his stolen barbecue was recovered by members of the community after a social media manhunt.

Greg's custom-built meat smoking rig was brazenly stolen from the Red Beach Surf, but the thieves were caught on camera using bolt cutters to cut the chain securing the rig and driving off with it on a trailer.

Greg turned up the next day with 100kgs of meat ready to smoke only to find his prized barbecue missing. He put up a social media post about the theft and, to his surprise, it received more than 5000 shares and 550,000 views.

“The community really banded together and just said we're not having this,” he said.

Jack Daniels NZ and Low n' Slow BBQ supplies each offered a $500 reward for the return of the barbecue.

Greg says he was getting calls from all over the country and there were possible sightings in Gisborne and Whangarei.

“It turned into a nationwide manhunt,” he says. “There wasn't much the thieves could do with it. It was instantly recognisable as my rig, especially in the barbecue community.”

The barbecue was ultimately recovered by Hibiscus Coast residents, Leilani Dunn and her ‘scary uncle' Troy Dunn.

Greg isn't sure of the details because the barbecue was returned on a ‘no questions asked' basis but Leilani figured out who had stolen it and took Troy to encourage the thieves to return it.

“The police hadn't even come back to me in the time that it took the community to sort it,” Greg says.

He is thrilled to have the smoking rig back. It kept his business afloat in lockdown, and made him renowned at the Kaipara Flats Sports Club for his mouth-watering barbecue.

His food was so popular that he was reluctantly intending to sell the rig in order to buy a larger one.

However, now that the community has worked so hard to see it returned, he feels obliged to hold onto it.

He is thinking of rebranding his business as ‘Stolen BBQ'.

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