Indiana man gets stolen guitar back from England

NORTH VERNON, Ind. (AP) – A southern Indiana man has his customized Les Paul guitar back more than a year after it was stolen and eventually ended up in the hands of a collector in England.

Dale Young of North Vernon said a friend was storing the guitar while he was moving in March 2010 and that his friend’s grandson stole it. He later found out that a music shop in California bought the 1978 guitar over the Internet from a store in Greenwood and that it was subsequently sold to a collector from Birmingham, England.

A Jackson County sheriff’s officer who investigated the theft helped track down the guitar’s location, but then it took quite a bit of talking with the collector to get him to part with it, Young said.

“He thought it was worth four or five thousand,” Young told The Tribune of Seymour. “I can’t blame him. It would have been tough. He didn’t know if I was legitimate.”

Young, who believes the guitar is likely worth twice that, said he finally convinced the collector that the guitar belonged to him.

“He stayed true to his word,” Young said. “He sold it back at the price he paid. He didn’t make any profit.”

Sheriff’s Officer Rob Henley said the guitar thief didn’t face criminal charges because he cooperated with the investigation and Young didn’t want to press charges.

Young bought the guitar in 1992 while he was living in Nashville, Tenn., and assembling guitars for Gibson Guitar, then had it customized.

“We just hot-rodded it like you would a car,” he said. ‘There’s probably not another one of these around.”

The guitar has been rarely played, and Young eventually decided he would save it for one of his children as a family heirloom. But he says the theft experience has changed his perspective.

“I don’t want to own anything collectible,” Young said. “There was a lot of worry over that thing. I don’t want anything custom anymore.”


Information from: The (Seymour) Tribune,

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