Thieves steal rare guitars from Nanaimo music shop

Thieves steal rare guitars from Nanaimo music shop
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WATCH: Thieves have struck a sour note at a music store in Nanaimo, stealing several rare and valuable guitars. It appears the criminals knew what they were looking for, tunnelling through a wall to snatch the instruments, worth upwards of $40,000.

The owner of Arbutus Music in Nanaimo’s north end has a good reason to play the blues. This past weekend, thieves broke into his Metral Drive store and stole some of his most valuable and rare guitars.

“One guitar that I’d like to recover is my Les Paul,” said store owner Richard Leighton. “It’s a rare guitar, but it’s kind of my desert island guitar. If I had one guitar to keep that would probably be the one I take home.”

Which is saying something because Richard Leighton owns close to 40 guitars.

His music store was broken into Friday night. The thief or thieves broke through the back door into the electrical room. They disabled the surveillance system and phone lines and then tunnelled through this wall.

“Well, we know they weren’t a big person,” said Leighton while looking at the hole in the drywall.

They rummaged through the office and took a laptop and petty cash.

They then went into this back room which carried some of Leighton’s most cherished guitars and stole seven of them.

“Unique shapes and very rare models,” said Leighton. “[A] 1959 Les Paul special which is not a very common guitar also a 1916 Martin Rolando that they made 153 of them in 1916 and that’s it. It’s almost a museum piece. Very hard to get rid of.”

And there’s a National Westwood 77, which is in the shape of the US.

Mounties say the rarity of the guitars may help with the investigation.

“Some of them were extremely high end extremely valuable so we’re hoping the public will hear something,” said Const. Gary O’Brien with Nanaimo RCMP. “Somebody’s going to know something about this. Either call us or Crimestoppers.”

But RCMp say the thieves also stole, activated and then used a credit card which may help them identify who’s responsible.

“We’ll be following up with the local business to obtain any video surveillance.”

Leighton says he’s already made security changes to ensure his store doesn’t get hit in the same way again. He estimates this insurance claim could top $40,000.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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