Greasy trail leads police in Illinois to grill stolen from festival

Saturday, June 20, 2009

WATERLOO, Ill. -- A trail of grease thwarted two men who allegedly attempted to steal an industrial-sized barbecue grill in Southern Illinois.

Andrew Schneider and Trent Gilliam are accused of stealing the 16-foot long, stainless steel grill from the Monroe County Courthouse lawn Tuesday during the Porta Westfalica Festival, which is named after Waterloo's German sister city.

The Monroe County Pork Producers grilled more than 500 steaks and 1,000 bratwursts on the new grill, valued at $10,000. Police allege that Schneider, 29, and Gilliam, 35, who both live in unincorporated Monroe County, hooked the grill to the back of their truck about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, in front of party-goers still enjoying their steaks and cold drinks.

"They just rolled it right off the curb, hooked it to their truck and took off," Waterloo police chief Jim Trantham said. "We're not dealing with 16-year-olds that thought they'd pull a stunt."

Trantham said officers followed the grease trail, which led them to nearby Valmeyer, Ill., which led west of Waterloo on Highway 156. Police in Valmeyer spotted the truck pulling the grease-spewing grill and began following it. The Monroe County Sheriff's Department arrested the two men.

"There was grease all over everything," Trantham said.

Each posted $10,000 bond and were released Wednesday from the Monroe County Jail.

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