Miscellaneous Rumbles

What Would You Do (stolen Guitars}


First a little background. A dear friend and bandmate is terminally ill with stage 4 cancer. As if this wasn't bad enough, he is on the verge of being homeless, living behind a guys house in what is essentially a shack with primitive plumbing. He's been in denial about how bad it was until his last doctor visit I took him to where the Doc laid it out for him. He wanted me to gather up his guitars for safe keeping, calling me the executor of his guitars. Three of them were in the property owner's house, a 1965 sunburst Gibson 335 12 string, a 1934 Martin 0-17 all mahogany, and a mid 70's cherry Gibson SG.All three were missing. The owner, in his 80's, was freaked. My friend, already having the metaphorical dagger jabbed in his gut, just had the blade twisted. This is really all he has to leave his family, and the first two have always been in the family. This happened last Thursday. The owner said they could not have been gone long. A side note, the man's son lives with him as well, has COPD.We've known both for decades, the man is above board, the son not so much. More on him later.

My friend is well known to area musicians, so my game plan was 1- call cops, make a report. 2- posted on craigslist a description of guitars along with a $600 reward, most of which the owner of the house put up. My friend is way to ill to do any of this ,so it's my phone # is on the listing. 3-contacted local blues society and music venues spreading the word. 4- checking in on local pawn shops. 5- contacting the officer who made the report every so often.

Fast forward to yesterday morning, 10:20. Receive a call with a guy, very southern accent, where he asks if I have some missing guitars. I ask him who is this, he says never mind my name do you? I describe all three and he tells me he bought the first two for $350 and saw the SG. Says he's a truck driver from the midwest ,was passing through and bought them from a guy and his girl friend. The description matches the homeowners son to a t. He keeps saying he paid $350 for them so I tell him about the reward of $600, saying turn them over to any authorities and he'll be up $250. Now I wasn't born yesterday, and in the back of my mind had the thought that he could be scamming me, and kept expecting him to say send money, then I'll turn them over. But he didn't, that plus his description of the thief made a believer out of me.But he kept hemming and hawing about when I pleaded with him to turn them in. He finally hung up on me. It occurred to me after that he just wanted badly not to get involved, and that $250 was just not enough incentive for him to come forward.

So, I immediately *69 him to get his number, then call the sheriff with what I had. In my mind, he could be anywhere and likely just wanted his $350 back, so time was/is of the essence. Now for the brick wall of bureaucracy.Call the sheriff, first they give you someone who tells you an officer will call and take the info. I explain the urgency of the situation , the person informs me that he can't take the info, an officer will call.I'm pacing like crazy, visualizing a quick sale taking place at a truckstop somewhere, when a call from a Law Enforcement Officer would be all the incentive this guy probably needs to do the right thing. So, I go on line ,fighting the urge to call the truck driver back, figuring leave it to the professionals. Online I find the guys name and location. He lives in Nashville, which matches his accent perfect. Two hours go by, I call the cops again, repeat my story, give case number, tell them I got his number and his name.They tell me an officer will call back. Finally, about 2pm said officer calls, I tell him everything, he says he'll pass it on to whatever detective is handling it. Huh? Now I know to the cops, this is same old,same old. But I have no clue as to what if anything is being done. When you call to ask, all they will give you is we're looking into it. When I ask for info, they say I can request a case report. So I guess dayly I'm supposed to get a new case report to read to see what they've done?

So here I am 24 hours later, tempted to call the truck driver back and say I know who you are, the cops know who you are, turn them over ! But I want to do this right, not mess things up. So I gotta ask you guys, at this point what would you do? Especially any of you involved in the law in your profession.


Go to the police station.

Much harder to ignore a citizen making an urgent complaint when he is standing right in front of you.


Go to the police station.

Much harder to ignore a citizen making an urgent complaint when he is standing right in front of you.

– geoguy

Yes, I'm thinking I will.


I'm not knocking the police, but in their minds, stolen property is pretty much all the same. It rarely is recovered. Stolen guitars are like a stolen bike. There are more important crimes to deal with at any given moment.

Yes, walking in and speaking up always gets more attention than a phone call.

Whether you should call the number back yourself, and "get more involved," I probably wouldn't. It great that you are so concerned for your friend's property, but if this theft is occupying too much of your time/thought, maybe it's time to let the cops deal with it...after you go to the station and speak up.

Good luck.



It sounds like you're really close to a solution. I'd give the police another 24 hrs and then check back, while you're likely biting at the bit, I'm sure. Thieves suck.


If/when you get them back, report the son who stole them in the first place. He's the real POS here. Make sure his dad knows about it. Thieves and scammers are the lowest. Preying on a dying man is as reprehensible as it gets.


Hopefully the cops will interview the truck driver who has them, he can ID the perp, I can only speculate who it is.And yes, it's as low as you can get.

Also, here's the link to the craigslisting with better description of guitars. They could be anywhere by now, so maybe ya'll could keep an eye out in your area for them, they're an easy to spot group.Link


A gentle suggestion: consider removing the words "by some POS" from that ad.

Doing so might encourage more responses, although it appears you have already received one very productive response.


A gentle suggestion: consider removing the words "by some POS" from that ad.

Doing so might encourage more responses, although it appears you have already received one very productive response.

– geoguy

I thought about it, but what would I put in it's place? "Poor misguided individual from a bad family?" All the local players around here know who the victim is and feel the same way. It's all I can do not to go full Sons of Anarchy on the POS what done this.


I think geoguy makes a good point. POS could be replaced by individual. People entering the fray on something like this probably don't want to think the person they're dealing with is in a state of (understandable) fury. It may not make any difference, but it could.


POS could mean Perpetrator Or Suspect. He's still a POS, tho.


Update, just returned from Sheriffs Dept. Good news is I have no outstanding warrants. Just kidding. Actually, they hadn't a clue, nothing was being kicked up doors to where it could be acted on. Told me the case was closed out. Luckily I wrote out who and when I talked to whom.Finally had a face to face with a Detective who seemed to have it together. Took all my info and said he'd call the guy and get back with me. He did while I was driving home. The number goes to a recording saying it was no longer in service. He said there are phone apps out there that give out false numbers. Who'd a thunk? He speculates that it was a scammer after all. Maybe he gave up after realizing I wasn't an easy mark. Total dead end, back to where we were before. Very depressing, but will soldier on.


News flash ! One of the three returned . The 335 Gibson 12 string was brought back by fella claiming he mistook it for another guitar, knows nada about the other two. Hmmmm. Anyway, this info has been passed on to detectives at the Sheriff's office who I'm sure are curious to grill said mistaken man.


Good news! Hopefully, they'll find the others.

Around here, they won't bother with stolen vehicle reports, much less anything smaller. Too many shootings to deal with instead.


Unfortunately, your experience is familiar. I was at a flee market in NorCal and saw a violin made by a Berkeley violin maker that was selling for only $250.... Something was wrong......Nothing that maker does is less than $3000.

The guy selling it did not know anything about violins or the maker. I wrote down the serial number and date. He grabbed it away from me. I left and called the maker and the police. When I got back, the seller was gone! I too got passed around from detective to detective. The next day I got a call back from a detective saying that it was indeed stolen, but that an insurance claim had already been paid out on it. That's where the investigation stopped I guess.

All I could think of was: if it was my guitar stolen, I would want it back out of principle or know that the bad guys got caught!


I wish there was an internet forum for people to register their stolen instruments, I would check any if not all guitars or what not that I buy used.


I wish there was an internet forum for people to register their stolen instruments, I would check any if not all guitars or what not that I buy used.

– Opie

There is such a registry. Try this link.


There is such a registry. Try this link.

– Ric12string

Thanks Ric, I Had no idea. Bookmarked and forwarded.


Thought I'd give an update on this thread. The '34 Martin surfaced in a nearby town. The perp had tried to pawn the Gibson SG as well, hopefully the police will be able to track it down. Unfortunately my friend passed away a month or so ago, but his kids will be able to enjoy their return. On a side note, I know the guys name and would like to post it to FB, but don't know the legalisms of such a move. If I post, I would give strictly the facts only, his name and that he pawned them, not that he stole them. Any attorneys out there that could advise?


Ok, now the bad news. Cops are telling his daughter that they cannot press charges as the owner is deceased. Huh? Since when is that the case. And....she has to pay the pawn shop $250 to get it back. WTF, why would anyone ever call the cops if this is true?


If that's the case I'm going to start scanning the obituaries to see which homes I need to rob.


That's a raw deal. Sorry to hear about your friend passing.


I am an attorney, but not particularly qualified to answer your first question, though I suspect it would be okay.

But the death of the owner does not mean that the thief cannot be charged. It may make certain aspects more difficult or at least inconvenient to prove (lack of consent, ownership), but by no means impossible. Contact your district attorney's office.

As for the $250, it smells like bullshit. But not knowing the laws of your state, I guess I couldn't really say. Could be some sort of statutory finders fee, though I can't imagine how the figure of $250 could be arrived at. Maybe they paid $500 and there's some provision regarding splitting the loss. Or maybe the pawn shop is saying they won't contest it if she pays that amount. In most jurisdictions, if you own it, you own it, end of story. But the shop has a stake in it now, and I suppose they're entitled to contest somebody claiming it, maybe even make her file some sort of legal action.

Is there a lawyer involved in the estate at all? That would certainly be helpful. Or at least an executor that might be able to exert some influence?


No lawyer for the estate, everybody's broke in the family. Am looking for some local pro bono lawyer, my friend was a well known and liked local musician. Hopefully someone will step up.


Go to the pawn shop, ask to see the guitar, take it and then calmly walk out with it. If he comes after you just give him a good whack and keep going

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