Stolen Music Gear Alert...!!!!

Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010 by •»¶hê ƒRëq»•-)•–––– in

Local musician Josh Norling had 2 of his saxophones stolen from outside of the Solo Trattoria Restaurant
yesterday.  Please read his personal message posted earlier today on Sootoday.

"To whom it may concern, My name is Josh and I'm a musician. I was performing at a benefit last night at Solo Trattoria, and just before I left the gig my friend's car was broken into and two of my saxophones were stolen. I'm a music major in university and performing with these saxophones is how I make my living. If all the readers could keep a lookout for an LA Sax tenor and soprano saxophone in a Reunion Blues gig gag I would greatly appreciate any information. Also if any pawn brokers, and music stores could keep an eye out for them and notify the authorities. Thank you. I can be reached anytime at 1-705-919-4133, I can also be reached at 759-1556.
Josh Norling"

Musician theft unfortunately has been a growing problem in the local Sault area and a number of people I know including myself have experienced the horror of having your prized instruments ripped off. Simply put, if a thief wants your stuff badly enough, they will get it and that doesn't matter if it's in a bar, house, car etc.  You can take precautions and yes folks, there is insurance for musicians.  Here are a few things to know.

1.  Be aware that normal household insurance will normally only cover $2500 worth of music gear.  If you want more covered, like myself, you must pay extra for it and it must be on it's own insurance policy.   This only covers gear that normally stays in your house.  If you want to use certain gear on gigs, then you will need insurance that covers your gear on tour.   The world insurance leader for musicians is "Lloyd's of London" (  Even our local Musician's Union has insurance plan info through this firm.   Of course, if you want to play, you've got to pay.  Most insurance for your gear is based on the dollar worth of your gear. For example, for every $100 worth of gear you pay $2.   Serial numbers and descriptions (photos of the actual gear) are all pluses when getting insurance but also for record keeping.  REMEMBER....House insurance will cover your instruments "IF" you get and pay for a separate policy  but the gear can't leave the house.  This is very important.  Car insurance is also tricky as it will only cover so much so you have to be clear with your insurance broker on your intentions.  Bottom line is, you can't replace a good quality instrument as no 2 instruments are alike.   I have insurance policies on my gear and it costs a fair amount but then again, I have quite a bit and most gear just stays at home.   It's best to be safe than sorry. 

2.  Bars and Venues you play will normally "NOT" cover stolen music gear as these businesses have no clue what you own and yes, you could lie about what you have.  I've had friends get their entire stage of gear stolen with no insurance.   They got nothing!!!   Be aware of this ok?   The insurance companies want "proof" of what you own and if you have no proof of your gear, you're up the creek without a paddle.  Create a manifest list of every nut and bolt and serial number of all your gear down to the last wire along with photos and descriptions and present it to your insurance company but also give a copy to your local police.

3. Take tons of photos, copy all serial numbers, write down accurate descriptions of your gear right down to the scratches and dents in your gear.  All this leads to proving ownership of your gear.  If you have no serial numbers on the gear,  get an engraver and create one in a spot not noticeable to the public.  If you have microphones, engrave the inside core of the mic, for guitars, engrave the wood behind the pick guard, for drums, engrave the inside of one lug on each drum.  Try anything to get a serial number on your stuff if there isn't one already but even add one as mentioned just in case.

4.  It is nearly impossible to get music gear back because in most cases, the people that steal it either leave town or keep it in their own house for years or dismantle it and use the parts or  in most cases, sell it off to someone else.  There is some hope as a few people I know have had their gear found and returned.  One found his guitar on Ebay and quickly notified authorities.   One person I know, who had his guitar registered, was called by Toronto police when his guitar was found in a Toronto pawn shop.  Cops always check the pawn shops for stolen gear.   His guitar was returned.

5.  NEVER leave stuff in your car.  You're asking for it to be stolen.  If you leave it in your car, you're advertising it for a quick grab and take.   I've known numerous musicians who have suffered loss from a car break in.   Just don't leave it in a car, it's that simple unless you have someone you know stand there keeping an eye on the car.  When loading your gear up at night, "NEVER" leave your gear moving vehicle unattended.  Always have a spotter.  If you have a Cube Van like me,  back the truck tight up against a wall so as to not give access to the back draw door of the truck if it's full of gear.  If they can't reach the lock, in the center of the door, you're protected.   I have heard of one instance where the thieves used a rolling car jack to jack the back of a cube van up at the back wheels, and roll the truck forward to access the back door of the cube van and steal the gear, but that to me was someone scouting the bar where this band played. Most thieves aren't walking around with a 3 ton car jack. ;-)

6.  For quick one night gigs, have a used instrument that you know you won't miss if it gets stolen.   I always have 2 cheap drumsets I use for gigs I feel might have a potential theft problem.  If you're doing a top gig and you need to use your best gear, don't leave it out of your site or if at least have a spotter.

7.   Never leave small things on stage like mics, capos, harmonicas,  tuners, pedals, cymbals etc.  You're asking for it to be stolen. You must remember thieves come in all shapes and sizes and yes some are employees in the establishments you play. Don't trust "ANYONE"  in a bar. Things can be taken quickly and people you don't know hanging around your stage could be scoping your gear.  Always be observant of strangers near your stage.  When you're not at the bar and your gear is there, you're relying on the employees to keep an eye on your gear but the fact is, they they have their own job to do and they can't watch your stuff 24/7 so there is opportunity for thieves to steal during the day while the business is open and you're not there.

8.  Always file a police report on your stolen gear.  If you don't, you're an idiot and deserve to have your gear ripped off.  After that, check the pawn shops, EBAY,  used antique stores,  local music stores, Customs, online sites that sell gear locally but also talk to people who work at the bar you played in.  Find out if anyone saw someone suspicious.  Yes, even check people you know, ask the question, who do you trust?

9.  Cover your stage gear with black sheets.   This is a simple thing and what it does is hide what you or your
band is playing.   You'd be surprised how much you notice people uncovering big black sheets on a stage then just a person grabbing a guitar pedal.   It's like a giant flag and even bar employees can notice someone moving sheets to get to your gear.   Sounds stupid but it actually works.

It is unfortunate when a friend or fellow musician loses their gear to theft.   We all go into a unity mode and we want to get the persons responsible.  In the case of Josh, the musician experiencing this today, music is his income and definitely a huge part of his life.   Musical instruments are not cheap to replace and musicians become one with the instruments they have developed their craft with.  It's like getting stabbed in the heart.
I've had gear stolen and some of that were cymbals.  My favourite cymbal to be honest and someone in our local community now has it in their possession without my permission. ;-)   It's a horrible experience and not one I'd wish on anyone.

Keep an eye and ear out for Josh's saxophones.    The good thing about this theft is that their aren't many sax players around so if it shows up in pawn shops, music stores etc.,  it will hopefully flag some awareness.


  1. Yes folks, miracles happen. The 2 saxophones reported stolen have been returned with no damage. Turns out the thieves grabbed the stuff from the vehicle but once seeing what they had during their escape, decided it was of no use to them and dropped them on the ground, and then a nice couple found the saxophones and returned them to Josh. Thankfully there are some honest people still left in this world. ;-)