In 2019, Pizzeria Paradiso commissioned a custom, mobile brick oven to cater festivals and events. The distinctive orange and blue Marra Forni oven was tiled with the restaurant’s name and cost about $30,000. Then last April, shortly following pandemic shut-downs, the nearly 3,500-pound piece of equipment and its attached trailer were stolen from the parking lot of the restaurant’s Hyattsville location. Fuzzy security footage showed an older, two-tone pick-up truck—maybe a Chevy or Ford—pulling up, hitching the trailer, and making off with the property in under three minutes.
Owner Ruth Gresser figured the case had since gone cold—until a week ago when a customer showed up inquiring about Pizzeria Paradiso’s catering truck. Turns out the customer had recently seen a pick-up hauling the oven on University Boulevard in Wheaton. Was someone still trying to pawn it? Were they operating an imposter pizza business?!
After its disappearance, Gresser had reached out to Marra Forni, the Beltsville-based company that built the oven. They speculated that the thief might have been after the trailer, which was a substantial piece of equipment in and of itself. After all, what value would the oven have to anyone with the bold “Pizzeria Paradiso” tiling on it? Even if someone wanted to ditch to oven, it is physically attached to the trailer and would be difficult to remove because of its weight.
Whatever the case, Gresser wants the public’s help in tracking it down. She’s now offering a free pizza party to anyone who provides information leading to its return.
“We might even throw some beer in there,” she says.
If you see it, contact the police. Send intel to Pizzeria Paradiso at firstname.lastname@example.org.