Guitar thief caught after local music shop takes action

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Guitar thief caught after local music shop takes action

Guitars thief caught
words by kaya martin

Last week, Northcote music shop Sonic Rendezvous was robbed of $25000 worth of gear. When a friend tipped the owner off about a stolen guitar, he took matters into his own hands.

For the small business, which only opened in April of last year, the robbery was a heavy blow. When a thief broke the back window of Sonic Rendezvous and made off with four guitars, an amp, rare Metallica records and $100 cash, owner Robert MacManus was despondent.

But on Tuesdsay evening, only a few days after the robbery, he received a tip from a friend that would set him on a path to getting his prized instruments back.

Guitar thief caught

  • Sonic Rendezvous was robbed of goods valued around $25000 last weekend
  • A member of the local guitar community came across one of the stolen instruments at the house of a shady Facebook Marketplace salesman
  • With the help of the police, they were able to retrieve a bass guitar and catch the thief

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His friend, who would like to remain anonymous, had gone to buy a guitar from a man on Facebook Marketplace. When he arrived at the man’s house, he recognised one of the basses stolen from Sonic Rendezvous from a previous Beat article.

The friend took a photo of the bass and its serial number, then gave MacManus a call to confirm.

They organised to meet up at a Pasco Vale MacDonalds, before going to the robber’s house to take back the goods.

“Initially, I was like, ‘man, I’m going to get the guy. I’m going to bash down the door’ and all this. But when we got there, the commission flat was so sketchy. I was like, no way man. This guy could have a gun, there could be people inside… It’s not worth it,” says MacManus. 

Instead, he contacted the Preston police, who arranged a court order and a search warrant for the next morning. When MacManus called the next day, they told him cops had just headed out raid the house. 

“My partner Catherine and I, we jumped in the van and raced over to the property and we got there just as they’re kicking in the door and searching the place,” he says.

What they saw inside exceeded their expectations.

“They found all these stolen bikes and tradie tools, drugs, electric bikes… One of the cops said his apartment was like a labyrinth, it was just so full of stolen stuff,” MacManus tells me, “It was just insane how much shit this guy had.”

They were only able to retrieve the one bass guitar – the thief had unfortunately already sold MacManus’s other instruments, although the police are still following up on leads. The suspect is now in custody and the case is ongoing. 

But despite still missing some gear, MacManus is still thrilled to have been part of the investigation and to have been able to help the local community by getting the thief off the streets.

“It’s partially about me, but it’s also about the bigger picture, where hopefully this guy won’t steal other people’s guitars and tools and ruin other people’s lives. That’s the end goal.”

To find out more about Sonic Rendezvous, head to their socials here