Man's Stolen Guitar Found on eBay 8 Years Later

Posted by Michael Mueller on September 21, 2010 at 8:28 AM

Recently we reported on the theft of two guitars from Machine Head guitarist Robb Flynn, and it seems too often we hear about someone's gear being ripped off, yet we rarely hear about recovery. Well, finally, we get a happy ending (thanks to Happy Traum for the story tip!).

Eight years ago, a 1957 Les Paul Special was stolen from rural Minnesota, according to an AP report in today's New York Times. But the guitar's owner, Doug Duncan, never stopped searching for his vintage beauty, even setting up email notifications from eBay to alert him whenever a similar guitar went up for sale.

Last month, his diligence paid off when he received an alert from the auction site that a similar guitar had been listed by a seller in Mill Valley, California. Duncan checked the serial number and found that it matched his guitar. Investigators then reached the seller, who was a collector that didn't know it was a stolen instrument. Since then, Duncan has been reunited with his treasured piece, though the childhood guitar that was also stolen eight years ago is still at large.

So how do you protect yourself from gear theft? First, keep a written record of all your instruments, along with photographs and even video. Record serial numbers, any unique identifying factors, purchase dates/places, and if purchased from a retailer, keep your receipts. And as made evident by Mr. Duncan's story, be diligent. In addition to police reports, check your local pawn shops, Craig's List, and online auction sites like eBay. Thankfully, most gear thieves are just looking for a quick cash grab and will try to resell your axe asap.

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