Thieves Strike Sour Note With Guitar Collector
By Craig Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Thieves have struck a sour note with a Green Country guitar collector. Someone took vintage guitars worth about half a million dollars. Some were recovered, but others are still missing.
For Larry Shaeffer, music is his love, and collecting guitars his passion.
"Always had a fascination and a love for vintage guitars," said Larry Shaeffer, owner of the guitars that were stolen on Thursday.
He's been in the music business for 40 years, mostly as a promoter for all kinds of acts.
"I've worked with Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys," he said. "Willie Nelson all over the United States. Metallica, Aerosmith, Van Halen."
Music makes him happy, but guitar thieves have given him the blues.
"Well, you'd have to bleep it if I described what I think of them," Shaeffer said.
A thief took seven of his vintage guitars – expensive instruments worth $500,000.
"Instead of going to 401Ks, I've invested in stuff that I can touch or feel and doesn't get washed away by the stock market, " the music promoter said.
Tulsa police believe James Bell wanted to pawn Shaeffer's retirement fund. Four guitars were recovered at a pawn shop, and police say they found another worth $80,000 when Bell was arrested on false declaration of ownership complaints.
"If someone steals something worth that much money from you, there's no way to like them again. I don't want to give them a hug ok?" Shaeffer said.
Two more are still missing, including an 1957 Fender Stratocaster with blonde finish and gold plating.
"I'm going to do a severe change in my security setup," said guitar collector Larry Shaeffer, whose vintage guitars were stolen Thursday.
Shaeffer says it was more than just losing valuable guitars; it was losing something dear to him. He hopes the missing guitars can be found, and it never happens again.
"That's what these guitars are, they're artwork," he said.
A police report says the man arrested, James Bell, is an ex-con with felony convictions for embezzlement, larceny and burglary.
Shaeffer also hopes pawn shops and guitar collectors will be on the lookout for the two missing guitars and will call Tulsa police or Tulsa County deputies.