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Lost & Stolen Gear Stories: How did you get the gear back? Advice for the rest of us?

Discussion in 'Lost & Stolen Gear' started by Blackbird, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. Blackbird

    Blackbird Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I feel fortunate to be able to say that I never had any gear stolen, except, Ironically, a tuner that disappeared at a friend's house yesterday. I'm pretty sure it was taken by accident and it'll hopefully turn up. Hardly an irreplaceable item.

    Still, some of you out there probably haven't been so lucky. If anyone out there has had an experience with gear theft and retrieval, please post it here. I'm pretty sure people are at a loss when they realize they've been robbed. It would be helpful to all if we could benefit from other's experience so that we don't run around like a chicken without a head if the unthinkable did happen to the rest of us.

    This forum is as much about prevention as it is about retrieving gear. Let's get some talkin' going on.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. Arrrrrgh


    May 8, 2002
    The Only advice I have is to check the local pawn shops EVERY DAY, and try to talk to different people if you can.

    My bass was stolen out of my car on a tuesday, and was given to a pawn shop on wednesday. I talked to this Pawn shop (along with the 3 others in my area) every day. The next tuesday (6 days after they received my bass) I got a different person at one of the pawn shops. I described my bass and the lady said "well we have had one of those since wednesday of last week".

    I am lucky to have a Cop in my band (which have given me some much needed respect, I used to hate ALL cops.... now its just some of them) and he was able to get my bass back quickly.

    It turns out that the Guy I was talking to at the Pawn shop, who said he had not seen a bass with my description, was the owner, and that the helpful lady(who told me of my bass) was an employee. I would suggest that you go 'case out' the pawn shops in your area and get the names of as many employees as you can. And by all means, file a police report, even if you don't know your serial number. I did not know mine, but I was able to describe many birth marks on my bass that are unique.

    Since then, I have recorded all of my gear on a camcorder(complete with serial numbers) and have given a copy of the tape to two friends.....

    Hope this helps
  3. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I second this advice. I once had a bass stolen right out of my house and it turned up in a pawn shop the next week.

    Hate to say it but the police were no help at all, even though I had the serial numbers and everything. Don't count on them being able to do anything.

    Insure your gear. This shouldn't cost that much money and you'll be very glad you did if something ever happens.

    And if you ever find the thief, crack his skull. :spit:
  4. I also had a bass stolen. It turned up 2 years later in a reputable music store. One of my friends saw it, actually the same guy whose car it was stolen out of, and had to buy it back. I was living in a different state and he didn't know how to get a hold of me so he just bought it and later found me and shipped it out to me.
  5. int

    int Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had a Randall 4x10 cab stolen from me in 1994. My mom was volunteering at the PD at the time, so she had one of the p*** come by and we filled out a report - serial and all.

    The cab turned up a 3 or 4 years later in a pawn shop - I couldn't believe it! I brought the issue up with a couple of the employees, and they said if I could show a copy of the receipt and report we wouldn't have an issue. Since nobocy was home at the time, I drove home, grabbed the paperwork, and got back to the shop. It took about an hour.

    Apparently the cabinet sold while I was gone.

    And the p*** wouldn't help me, until I mentioned the work my mother had done for them. And then they just gave us the runaround and excuses, of which I could understand if we didn't live in one of the lowest crime induced cities in America.

    If your pawning around, bring your docs, just in case. Take pictures and note identifying marks. And don't leave it to the p***, they're called p*** for a reason. But don't do anything stupid either.

    Obligatory "grain of salt" reminder.

    Now that I'm all growed up we have insurance.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  6. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have lost 3 guitars.

    Boston Area Stolen in late seventies,

    '69 Strat Electric Blue, rosewood neck.
    had a sun painted on the upper horn,
    part of the finish was removed until I found epoxy body filler in it.
    1974 or 75 Model EB3 Gibson Bass, cherry red natural finish, Boston as well.

    Stolen out of a storeroom in a warehouse in Everett MA, probably by some of the employees there, who mostly were from Chelsea MA.
    Almost certainly the same person stole both. The cases were not stolen.

    The storeroom was not secure enough, it was possible to climb over a wall to get into it.

    Also lost a Gibson 12 string acoustic in a home burglary in Quincy MA in May 1977. My locks were not adequate to keep out the heroin addict in the house next door. I went to the movies, and he broke in through the basement in the interim, taking my TV, stereo, records, guitar, all 20 bucks of my cash and the food out of my fridge.
    He left town very shortly thereafter, I then found evidence in his apartment of items that belonged to me.

    I reinforced the kitchen to basement door with
    1" plywood, 2 crossed 2x4's and headless carriage bolts thru the whole mess. Then the best locking deadbolt I could buy.

    Lock your stuff up as well as you can. They won't keep pro's out, but pro's know that if it is too much hassle, they will move on to easier pickings. Always lock your house, car etc. Don't leave your guitars or equipment in plain view from the street, it attracts undue attention.


    If you have seen this strat in the Beantown area
    PM me, I still want it back. No q's.
    chupacerveza likes this.
  7. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    On doublebasses, have your luthier do a thorough appraisal, on which anomilies that make the bass unique are noted. Also, have them mark your bass somewhere that can't be easily seen, usually somewhere that can be seen only with an inspection mirror. The bass bar is a good location.

    chupacerveza and peaveyGrind6Man like this.
  8. so much for car alarms...
    peaveyGrind6Man likes this.
  9. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I'll second this and add to keep checking E-bay. My friend Jennifer had some custom made golf clubs stolen. A cop told her to watch E-bay, as they were unusual.

    Sure enough, 3 days later, she found them on E-bay. with the seller also being listed in OKC. The cops tracked the seller down, and it was a pawn shop. Due to the law here that you can't sell anything you take in at a pawn shop for 30 days, the guy was thought to be a fence. When they raided the shop, they found a lot of other stolen stuff.

    chupacerveza and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  10. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Oh Right! PUH-LEEEZ?!?

    When you gave them the heads up that they might have your stolen gear, they "sold":rolleyes: it while you were gone?!?

    They knew, if you had the proper proof of ownership, that they were going to have to give it up.
    That means they would have been out their investment and probably have brought on a similar investigation as one of the other "pawn shops" meantioned here (i.e. "the fence").
    chupacerveza and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  11. LowerE


    Nov 4, 2003
    I must say that I feel sorry for everyone and I hope that it never happens to me, although a relative lost an instrument once by criminals. It's not funny no, but you can always remind yourself with the fact that it can happen to the best, if you know that even Jimi Hendrix' guitar was stolen. It was actually the whole idea of turning around his guitar, so that he could play left handed.

    But my question is if being stolen changed your idea of makin' music and especially if you still can play songs written by criminals?
    Its of course not really good for your image if you want to play 'Jailbreak' or fun lovin' criminals when people know that you are ripped. Who changed his idea and plays for instance 'The Police' more often ?
    chupacerveza likes this.

  12. What?!:confused:
    chupacerveza and Two Leggs like this.
  13. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    This subject came up in another forum I participate in. There is some very useful advice about protecting your gear.


    The post you should look for is, "They broke into my house and took my Fodera, but.."
    Check it out and the replies. It should be helpful.

    And if you ever find the people who did it, Stomp their head into the ground!!! :D
    chupacerveza likes this.
  14. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I've only had a couple things stolen in the past
    40 years or so. I learned a very good lesson on the first theft. NEVER leave an instrument in plain view in your vehicle. I lost my 67 Mosrite bass and a showman bottom that way.

    Don't trust other musicians to do the right thing. I had a mic stolen from a steady gig. It turns out the band that auditioned on one of our off days stole it, and when I contacted them they blew me off. Jerks!

    Since then, I cover any equipment that is being left in the car or leave the car in plain site if I'm stopping for breakfast on the way home. I have put curtains on all my camper windows. Unload ALL your gear when you get home and lock the car between trips. This is also good for loadins and loadouts at gigs.

    If you know any Cranksters, be extra careful, never let them in your home,they will rip you in an instant.

    For your home, get a big dog who makes noise when he/she hears strangers.

    Be careful about insurance. Some companies won't pay if you are using it professionally. Be sure to ask this before getting the policy.

    Never show your gear to anyone you don't know.
    chupacerveza and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive Suspended Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I've had people I don't know email me and ask to come by my house to check out my gear... then get offended when I say no.

    I'll live with the shame.

    I'm anal about leaving my gear exposed and/or unguarded... I just don't do it.
    chupacerveza and PhillipHolbrook like this.
  16. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    I'm the same way and I don't have near as much gear as you Brad! ;) With the exception of one person, even the guys that I Jam with on a regular basis don't come by my place. When providing my contact information I give out a P.O. Box and an unlisted number. :D
    chupacerveza likes this.
  17. Tames


    Dec 31, 2002
    Decatur, IL, USA
    I read somewhere a year or so ago, that there was a company that would basically imbed a tracking chip into your instrument on the neck or something, with a trackable serial number and all. Included with the installation, they gave you a number to call if the instrument was ever missing or anything and they could track it. I'm not sure how much this cost or anything at all really, but I thought this was a rather interesting way of it. Must really REALLY be in love with your bass to have a LoJack installed in it! Not sure if this thing is truly effective, but I do love my instrument enough that I'd be upset enough to cry if something were to happen to it.

    Found it. Here we go. www.snagg.com
    chupacerveza likes this.
  18. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    That's a cool feature, but still pretty limited. It doesn't actually track where your instrument is, and relies on where ever it turns up to be scanned, which I know back home wouldn't happen, and I doubt in a lot of family run stores would be able to. Also, if someone stole your instrument who played it, they wouldn't neccissairly sell it or anything, could just keep it. But still a good idea, and maybe worth the cash..

    chupacerveza likes this.
  19. rhett


    Dec 23, 2004
    Austin TX
    picked up a really! beat up MM5 for next to nothing from a "friend,"
    who gave me a bs story about his coworker's son that abused it.
    learned later he stole a bass from a church! that he calls his own to this day! (statutes are over, he's assured me, or else he would not speak of it...)
    i called the local PD's, and emailed EB - none of whom ever responded.
    the PD's asked me to bring it in to compare to their #'s, and of course i balked.
    i prayed and hoped the rightful owner would claim the bass, but as battered as it was when i got it, i knew there was little hope of a peaceful reunion.
    my motto is "if it looks too good to be true, Walk!"
    if you buy from thieves, it makes you no better than them.

    "God does not distinguish if you steal from a 90 yr old person on SSI or a multi-billion dollar corporation"
    PhillipHolbrook likes this.
  20. JoshB

    JoshB A great man is always willing to be little. -RWE

    my '76 Fender P got stolen one time, OUT OF MY CHURCH!! I scoured Craigs List, ebay and the local pawns and eventually found it on Craigs and posed as a potential buyer and went to confront him. (I'm 6'2 and 275...I try not to be threatening but I guess I can be when I want to...) I got the bass back unharmed. Thank Goodness...

  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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