PROTECT YOUR GEAR FROM THEFT
THURSDAY // APRIL 12, 2018
On Friday, March 30, 2018, a thief stole the instruments of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band guitarist, Nils Lofgren, prior to his show in Dallas, Texas. Four guitars, harps, tools and other equipment were among the items stolen from the band’s van parked at the Holiday Inn Express, FOX4Dallas reported.
Lofgren felt devastated from losing many sentimental guitars brought with him on tours around the world over the time span of 50 years and 6,000 shows. Despite the loss, Lofgren reassured fans the great show would go on, as a professional musician would be expected to do.
That same night, the guitarist tweeted, “I’m devastated by this robbery. These are my first shows out after a very difficult year. Please consider a retweet. Alas, the show must go on. @KesslerTheater it won’t be the show I was planning on. However I do plan on taking the roof off.”
Lofgren was able to continue the show by borrowing and renting what he needed to make it happen.
Lofgren told FOX4Dallas the thief broke into the van, put the equipment into his trunk and drove off. Thanks to surveillance video, police recovered Lofgren’s guitars the following Monday, and an arrest was made.
What if this happened to you? And more importantly, what if you didn’t have the resources to have the show go on?
Musicians, performers, venue employees, drivers, touring crew, tech crew, stagehands, and just about any other occupation in the live entertainment industry are subject to losing the precious gear that pay the bills - if they don’t take the right precautions.
How the perpetrator broke has yet to be announced. The investigation of the break-in is still underway, but here are some helpful tips you should consider, provided by gigging musician and deputy sheriff, Jerry Cress, on Disc Makers Blog.
First thing’s first: Document the Sale & Insure Your Gear
If you buy equipment from a private seller, you are urged to have the original owner / private seller, provide documentation of the sale, i.e. “On this date (date), I sold (equipment), serial #_, to (your name) for the amount of (price).”
Inspect your home and car insurance policies in detail. Spend the money to receive instrument insurance.
Keep a record of every single piece of equipment in your possession.
Lock your doors
It might seem like the obvious action, but in the smallest moment you are away from your car is when this type of thief succeeds. Running in the gas station to pay in cash? Lock your car. Forgot your wallet inside? Lock your car. Running down the hotel lobby for some ice? Lock your door! Thieves are constantly on the lookout for anybody who lets their guard down, even for a split second.
Reported recently in Simi Valley, California, is news about gas station “slider thefts” who essentially will slide up to a person’s car out of sight while he or she is getting gas and snatch belongings before quickly escaping the scene.
You can see footage of this happening below:
Imagine filling up the tank of your touring van holding thousands of dollars of gear, only to turn around to an empty backseat. So, moral of this lesson is to lock your doors at all time, even if you’re just getting gas.
Keep a clean car and cover your windows
Don’t leave your gear in a vehicle unless you absolutely have to. As soon as you’re able to unload your gear, do so. Leaving important gear in your car on display is comparable to window shopping for a thief. Don’t tempt them. Otherwise, it may be a great idea to invest in some curtains to hide the gear you have inside.
Stay out of the dark
Avoid parking your vehicle holding gear in a back, dark lot of your gig location or hotel. Park in an area with lights, and as close to your gig venue as you can possibly get. Check on your vehicle every so often.
Work as a team
This step may remind you of being in an airport, to never leave your bags unattended. The same goes for loading in and out. In an instant, your unattended equipment can be snatched while you’re loading something else in or out. Have someone in your crew watch the rest of your stuff if you’re preoccupied with something else, whatever that may be.
Rethink your rehearsal space
How does everyone know where the neighborhood band is? They can hear ‘em. That being known, everyone then is aware of the gear inside that house in that garage. The noise complaints and cops outside the house addressing those complaints sure don’t go unnoticed, especially to a thief curious as to what’s inside.
The article also addresses the issue with garage break-ins, and the ease most garage doors have with break-ins built for emergencies. The author suggests investing in good locks or deadbolts and to cover the windows. He further suggests not storing gear in the garage is the surefire way to prevent any of the above.
Invest in lights and alarm systems
Outside light sensors usually shoo a burglar away. Also invest in an alarm system that will notify you right away if there is a breach.