Dealing With Theft

I got an email last night from a friend who returned home to find that she had been robbed. Everything, TV, Laptop, kitty litter, and even the toilet paper. But the most prized thing, a bassoon, had been stolen as well.

Obviously, the police have been called. But what does a musician do when their money making tool gets snatched? Contacting all the neighboring music stores and pawn shops in the area is a priority. An instrument is something that is not really easy to get rid of for a thief. About 10 years ago a trumpet playing friend had his trumpets stolen out of his car which was at his house in his drive way (big truck in the back seat). They turned up about 2 weeks later at a music store. Another story…

How I got my Mark VI alto was partly due to thievery. Rory Snyder had his alto and flute stolen, again, from the trunk of his car which was in his driveway. His horns were missing for several months (3 or so?) before they turned up at an Oakland music store. In the mean time he had already bought a replacement Mark VI.

So, one of the highest priorities is to get word out to stores that it was stolen. Email all your music friends.

Next, in this digital age, you need to immediately start looking on Ebay and Craigslist for it. Ebay is easy to do, as you can have it mail you matches nightly. Craigslist……not so easy to do. You need to look in your area (SFBay) and areas around you (like Modesto) for your missing instruments. Be vague. Look for “saxophone” or “sax”. If anything sounds like what you lost, or you actually see a picture of it, contact the police. If you need to get more info on it, have a friend or setup an email account under a different name to email the person about it. And if you obtain information that leads you to believe it is your stolen horn, then call the police.

There are some other things you can do to help yourself out. First, document your instrument(s). Take pictures of it (them) and the serial number(s). Have the receipt of when you bought it (them), or at least an appraisal of what it (they) is (are) worth. MAKE THESE THINGS DIGITAL. AND THEN PUT THEM SOMEWHERE. Like in your Gmail account. Send them to yourself electronically, and put them in a folder called personal. Or whatever you want to call it. Make sure there are some words in the body and the subject like “instrument list”, or “serial numbers”. Something to make stuff easy to find at a later date. It doesn’t have to be Gmail. You can do it on your account if you have one, put the info on your iDisk.

Second, consider putting your instruments on your insurance, or getting a separate policy for the instruments. There are a number of places that offer insurance for instruments, such as Clarion. They are cheap, and even offer insurance to and from a gig.

Third, don’t leave your stuff in your car. Every. Or at a gig site. I know some pit musicians who will leave their stuff at a gig because they are coming back the next day or night and supposedly no one is going to have access to the pit. Ha!

Well, I’m out of ideas for dealing with theft. I think I’ve covered the basics. Most important thing is to have documentation on the stuff. Pictures…….serial numbers……make and model. So you can prove it is yours.

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