‘Holy smokes’: Wichita man on finding stolen smoker


Holy smokes!

That was the reaction of a local man after detectives found his stolen barbeque weeks after it went missing.

This and other items had a special meaning for the Sheet Metal Workers Local 29. 

The smoker is an irreplaceable item used at charity events in the community.

It had been built by apprentices back in 2010.

Now, the group is thankful it’s back in the right hands. 

“Pretty cool huh? it’s amazing,” said Jeff Townsend, as he pointed out the smoker Monday afternoon.

Less than four weeks ago, the business manager’s spirits were much different.

He had just shared a video with KSN of the union trailer being driven away by thieves, from the back of their offices December 9th. 

But last week, his luck turned.

“The detectives and patrol were working a burglary investigation,” said Lt. Myers, of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office. “And, they came across the trailer. And, so they found it was stolen through the city of Wichita and recovered it.”

“I was like Holy smoke,” said Townsend. “You’re kidding. I said a little more than that but haha.”

One of the members picked up the trailer Wednesday night, and the next morning they opened it up to see the damage that had been done, or lack there of. 

“Untouched,” said Townsend. “I don’t even know what their goal was, or what their purpose was.”

Other than a few broken locks and trailer tongue, everything else seems to be fine, and that’s all that matters to Townsend. 

“When it got stolen that – my Christmas wish would be to get the smoker back. So, it’s far exceeded,” he said.

“I’m glad that we were able to help him with his Christmas wish of getting back their trailer,” said Myers.

Now, the union can get back to providing delicious meals at community events, with the offer extended first to law enforcement, after what they did for the group. 

“A thank you for what they do everyday,” said Townsend. “But, especially for this.”

He says the next step is upping the security for the trailer. 

That means adding a space for it inside, that involves alarms.

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