ORLANDO, FL – Thieves stole more than $6,000 worth of equipment from behind the popular Orlando restaurant The Smiling Bison early Tuesday morning, according to a report from Orlando Police.  Co-owner Joshua Oakley knew something was wrong as soon as he pulled up to the back of the restaurant.

“Our cart is always chained up out there, and obviously it stuck out like a sore thumb. I knew it was gone right away, and there was only one possibility. I knew it had been stolen.”

The report says the thieves cut several chains and 4 locks to remove the food cart from the property, and a piece of the tail light was still laying on the ground Wednesday. Oakley says they also managed to cut two more locks and several chains in a storage area fenced in behind the eatery.

“All of our empty kegs that had been chained up, all of our propane tanks for the cart and for our smoker that had been chained up, and then our smoker itself were just gone.”

Oakley tells FOX 35 it’s business as usual inside the restaurant, but they have lost a key marketing tool and a way to make extra money by going to events.

“Everybody knows about the cart, so and it has always just had a big following, and it still is a big part of our business even though obviously the restaurant is bigger.”

Oakley is hoping someone will spot the cart and its recognizable “hot hot” sign on the side.

“We’re just really disappointed, you know?  We’ve put our entire, all of our eggs into one basket being this business, and just really trying to make it work,” says Oakley.  “It’s really frustrating when my partner and I have been here 100-plus hours a week for a year straight, just trying to make this place happen for our selves and for the town, and you lose a little faith in humanity I guess.”

Orlando Police are asking anyone with information to call them or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).

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