San Diego's Blind Lady Ale House Recovers Stolen Brewing Equipment Nearly A Month After Theft

July 21, 2022

Nearly a month after the late-night theft, San Diego's Blind Lady Ale House has recovered its stolen brewing equipment with the help of a friendly pawn shop owner. 

On the early morning hours of Saturday, June 25, a man and a woman equipped with a dolly stole a 2bbl Brewtech Jacketed Unitank fermenter valued at nearly $5,000 from Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego's Normal Heights. Ownership took to social media with photos and video from the incident in hopes of recovering the valuable equipment. Hope of return seemed like a lost cause, until this week when ownership was tipped off that the fermenter was spotted at a San Diego pawn shop.  

Today, a post on Blind Lady Ale House's social media alerted followers that they recovered their fermenter with the help of a friend of the restaurant that spotted it at Empire Thrift pawn shop in El Cajon. 

"Got a message from a friend last night that it was spotted for sale in El Cajon at Empire Thrift," read the post on Blind Lady Ale House social media. "This morning I headed out expecting to be met with some pawn shop attitude, but the owner of Empire saw me walk in and was like 'are you here about the tank?' Once he heard it was stolen (apparently the word made it to him yesterday via someone who saw our post) and he wanted it out of his shop and actually tried to contact us to give it back.) He paid that thief $200 and said he was fine with losing the money because he felt bad for us losing such an expensive piece of equipment during such sucky times. So, we loaded it in the van and then I pretty much forced him to take $200 cash. He was reluctant, but I thanked him for helping out a fellow small business and let him know I was so happy it was him who had it because not everyone would be so cool."
Clea Hantman, Jeff Motch, and Jenniffer & Lee Chase opened Blind Lady Ale House in San Diego's Normal Heights in early 2009, offering scratch-made pub food complimented by an epic craft beer list. The current ownership team also owns Blind Lady's onsite brewery Automatic Brewing Co. and Panama 66 at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

"The truly crazy thing we learned about this is that those tanks don't have any sort of serial number or anything on them to identify them," continued the post on BLAH's social media. "So, the police really weren’t much help. They knew who stole it, they knew where the guy was/is 'living', but said that wasn’t enough. Crazy. Hopefully now that they have pics of him selling it they’ll issue an arrest warrant and we don’t have to see him in the neighborhood anymore."

Blind Lady Ale House is located at 3416 Adams Avenue in San Diego's Normal Heights neighborhood. For more information, visit