In Your Corner: Community Grill Stolen

By Ryan Elijah

June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 4, 2008 at 12:39 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (indiana's NewsCenter) -- If you've driven by the 1300 block of South Anthony Boulevard in the past few years you've probably seen a massive 400 pound grill that the Memorial Park Neighborhood Association uses for fundraisers. Just two weeks ago that grill was stolen and a piece of their community is gone with it.
Association president Saharra Bledsoe could hardly believe her eyes when she saw that someone had cut through an expensive Krytonite chain and stolen their grill in the middle of the night. The grill had been chained to this location for 2 years and was used to cook food for the needy and raise money for the association's fundraisers.
John Ellis donated the custom made grill and also served as the cook. He describes the loss as much more than just the 500 dollars or so it would cost to replace it.
John Ellis "it brought the community together, we would feed the needy, give people money when they needed it and let kids cook and help us serve.
Memorial Park's association estimated they took in about 12 hundred dollars a year from the grill. The money is used for their events and towards their ongoing goal of turning this historical building into a community health grocery store. Just a few weeks prior to the grill being stolen, the building was broken into and the thieves made off with everything from shelving units to electrical fixtures. The association covers a large area of Fort Wayne's southeast side and this group of individuals says the incidents have hurt the community in a lot of ways.
The police did respond to both incidents and helped board up the building. I also spoke with a couple of pawn shops who told me it would be almost impossible to sell a grill of that size, so it's likely that the thieves plan to sell the parts or simply keep it for their own use. If you have any information or would like to help the Memorial Park Neighborhood association, you can call 422-9794.
The association says they don't have the money to replace the grill, the story is a good example of how the actions of a few can hurt an entire community.

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