CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- A family-owned roasted chile stand was burglarized overnight Tuesday. The owners of the stand off Parker Road and Broncos Parkway in Centennial lost nearly everything to the thieves.
“We’ve been doing this since 1965,” said Pete Elliott, owner of RoastedChile.com.
“This area is where we keep all the pumpkins,” he said pointing to a now empty section inside a chain link fence.
“We had all the chile out here … thousands of dollars worth of jars that we sell. Queso, salsas, jellies, jams,” he said about the emptied racks and baskets that were filled with homemade goods just one day before the theft.
For Elliott, this isn’t just business.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into these seasonal businesses. They’re not easy,” he said.
It’s a tradition from his late father that he has continued. But Tuesday night “they just took it all,” he said.
He said the criminals loaded up nearly everything he had under his big red tent and then left.
“You stole every pumpkin out here, every ristra. Who steals straw? Honestly, who steals straw?” he asked of the thieves.
A $7,000 roaster and a flatbed trailer filled with trash were also taken.
“They stole the whole roaster. They broke the other one,” Elliott said. "There was a lot of stuff out here. This wasn’t just a little theft. It was a robbery. I mean they cleaned us out."
The seasonal businessman is not asking for donations to repair the damage or replace the loss.
“Money is money, but this is just everything my dad created and from the grave I just feel like they stepped all over him,” Elliott said.
What he wants is to catch the people who trampled on his family’s tradition.
“We’re going to move on. We’re going to have more chile, we’ll have more jars. We’re going to do it all. We don’t quit. It’s just, when I think of my dad it hurts,” he said.
He said more than $10,000 worth of equipment and goods were taken. He is offering a $1,500 cash reward for information leading to an arrest.