Jamie Westendorff’s stolen cooker recovered at Georgetown County pawnshop

This photo of Jamie Westendorff was taken in 2009 when he was chosen for The Post and Courier’s Jefferson Award for Public Service.

One of the Lowcountry’s most famous outdoor cooking grills, which has served thousands of people for numerous charities, was recovered Wednesday night after being stolen.

The $6,000 cooker was stolen Tuesday from Charleston Outdoor Catering on St. Andrews Boulevard, which is run by longtime caterer Jamie Westendorff. The big cooker has served thousands of Lowcountry residents over the years, including wedding parties, hurricane victims, relief workers and children with cancer.

Charleston County sheriff’s detectives recovered the cooker at a Georgetown County pawnshop, according to Maj. Eric Watson. The suspects had tried to pawn the cooker at several other shops and failed, and an employee at this pawnshop was suspicious and tipped off police. Westendorff doesn’t want to press criminal charges, Watson said.

Westendorff spends about half his time cooking to pay the bills and the other half cooking for free for worthy causes. The Post and Courier awarded him the Jefferson Award for Community Service in 2009. “After Hurricane Hugo tore through the state in 1989, Westendorff set up his grills in Marion Square and fed about 20,000 to 30,000 people,” according the article announcing the award. “After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Westendorff fed multitudes in a nearby recovering town in Alabama. Soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, he fed crowds of people who showed up wanting to give blood. He had gone to donate blood but figured all the other people could use a pick-me-up after standing in the long lines, he said previously.

Reach Dave Munday at 843-937-5553.