Beef bandit nabbed by Austin police

James Cordell Avery

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man accused of stealing meat from at least 19 HEB stores and then reselling that meat to local restaurants has been arrested.

Austin police booked James Cordell Avery, 47, into the Travis County Jail on Sunday. Police say the thefts started over the summer and that he took more than $2,000 worth of meat. Thirteen of the stores involved were in the Austin area.

An arrest affidavit listed several encounters between Avery and store employees dating back to May. Avery abandoned his cart each time he was confronted and fled the scene in a Buick, the affidavit said. He was carrying more than $420 worth of meat on the occasions where he left the product behind, the document said, and had a cart with $757 worth of meat in it when he was stopped outside the HEB on E. 51st Street in September.

“He’s selling or giving it away, he’s doing something with it,” Austin Police Det. Rickey Jones told KXAN last week. “I have yet to know an individual who can eat that much meat, in that short of time.”

Police have not named any restaurants who may be involved.

Avery is also being held on an out-of-county felony charge, and bond was set at $32,000. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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