NCBS Stolen & Missing Instrument Information Page

This is the Northern California Bluegrass Society's national infomation page for stolen and missing musical instruments. This page can be used to announce the theft or other loss of musical instruments, updates on subsequent investigations, and news about the recovery of instruments. The forum is HTML-enabled, so that links may be added to other websites that contain pictures and other detailed information about the instruments. The NCBS does not warrant the accuracy of any information posted. Contact the source for details. Good luck to all!

NCBS Stolen & Missing Instrument Information Page
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Stolen Gibson banjo Recovered

Happy to report that I'm one of the lucky few; someone who had their stolen instrument returned due to kind and diligent efforts of bluegrass friends. Earlier in May, my Gibson Earl Scruggs Standard was stolen from the restaurant where my group, the Banner Mountain Boys, was playing. I haven't quite forgiven myself for leaving my banjo at the restaurant after loading all the sound and other equipment, my wife's bass, and making a note to grab my banjo on the way out. Well, that didn't happen, and realizing my terrible mistake around Auburn on the way home, called the restaurant, and was assured by the manager that they had already locked it up and I could pick it up on Tuesday. Unfortunately, thieves hit the restaurant storage in the wee hours of the morning, looking for kegs of beer and food (which they found)and got my banjo as a bonus. The restaurant owner reported the theft, including my banjo and serial number, to Sacramento Police Department.
Since that time, I've listed the instrument on other websites that have a stolen instrument link/listing, sent flyers out to music stores, and certainly told friends. I hadn't yet got word to the Fifth String, and that's where my instrument ended up.
Thanks to my wife Cecelia and our friend John Hettinger (among others), word got to John Green and that set things in motion.
Tonight, May 28th, I recovered my banjo at John Green's Fifth String Music Store in Sacramento. John deserves the largest share of credit; he had unknowingly (see his message board post and string of replies from 5/23/08) transacted this banjo, but was good enough to contact me, confirm the banjo's identity, arrange for the return of the banjo from the picker he sold it to, and handed it over to me tonight.
While I relied on the Sacramento Police Department a little too much, it was the bluegrass friends I mentioned earlier and the network/community of pickers in the area that are directly responsible for the surprising and unanticipated return of my valued axe.
I am truly thankful to John Green for following up with me and for the huge effort he expended on my behalf. He also refused to accept the reward I had offered for the recovery of the banjo.

I am humbly grateful for my friends who insisted on being part of the temporary solution in mitigating my self-inflicted tragedy. My good friend Paul Siese, banjoman for Mountain Laurel, was adamant that I should borrow, for as long as I wanted, his 1931 Gibson RB-3. I did and it got me through a couple of gigs and rehearsals before tonight. Thanks, Paul, and I'll gratefully return your banjo at the soonest. My bandmates Taylor Carey and Ron Gaynor each had banjos to lend and I'm very grateful for their generosity. We had four banjos laying around at rehearsal one night, none of them my own but all available to me.
Thanks to all of our friends who were so generous in their support and concern, and so many who put the word out extensively to music stores and the general bluegrass community. Especially John Hettinger who originally informed John Green of the theft.

Way too often, stolen instruments find other places to live, never to be seen by their rightful owners again. I'm real lucky; a lot of people made sure that wouldn't happen in this case. Thank You.

Rob Shotwell

Re: Re: Stolen Gibson banjo

Rob... can't tell you what a wonderful story it is that you got your 'friend' back and all the great friends that helped along the way.

BTW, are you the same rob5string out of Bella Vista, AR?


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Replying to:

Rob Shotwell of the Banner Mountain Boys had his banjo stolen from Fran’s Café in Sacramento on May 4. Here is a description of his instrument:

2000 Gibson Mastertone – Earl Scruggs Standard, Serial# ES-4116

Hearts & flowers inlay on fingerboard, maple resonator

Original pot assembly, tone ring & rim

Price Straightline tailpiece

Snuffy Smith bridge w/ JD Crowe spacing

Scruggs-Keith tuners on G & B strings

Resonator thumbscrews have pearloid inlay

Brown strap with fake wool lining

Excellent condition; no real marks or dings

Stolen with original Gibson case, electronic tuner, extra bridges, stock tailpiece,

Wire snippers, strings, many picks.

Reward for info leading to the recovery of this treasured instrument.

Contact Rob Shotwell, 13518 La Barr Meadows Rd, Grass Valley, CA 95949,