The Grill of It All

The lights are off most of the time inside Certified Customs, at 4815 E. Colfax. The shop's owner, grills guru Nando Mondragon, the subject of a recent Westword profile, is locked up in Las Vegas, waiting to hear if he'll be imprisoned on a parole violation or allowed to return to his hip-hop fashion business in the Mile High.

Occasionally, Mondragon's friends or sister will open up shop, but without Mondragon around, business is suffering.

Inside the shop sits hip-hop wardrobes, custom shoes, mix discs, cash and a computer. And Sunday night, three men allegedly broke in and tried to have a shopping spree. Little did they know, Mondragon wouldn't leave his goods unprotected.

Late Sunday, someone from the alarm company called Santiago Mondragon, Nando's father, who owns a lowrider bicycle/custom framing shop on Santa Fe. The alarm company rep told Santiago someone had broken in. Santiago called the cops.

A quick response by Denver's finest led to the arrest of 31-year-old George Gleason and 30-year-old Marvin Williams, who were driving a Chevy Tahoe with merchandise from the heist in plain view. Thirty-three-year-old Sammy Rosado was picked up shortly thereafter.

It's Nando's second lucky break lately. The assault case that he caught while vacationing in Vegas has been dropped. And now, it's all up to the parole board as to when Denver's "grill guy" will be back on the fashion map. -- Luke Turf

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts