Band of Rascals guitarist Malcom Owen-Flood has been reunited with the guitar that was stolen from him after a concert in Ucluelet this summer.
“I’m thrilled,” Owen-Flood told the Westerly News. “It’s pretty hard to explain how happy I am. I kind of always thought I’d see it again but I thought it would be like 10 years from now so I’m blown away that it happened this quickly.”
The guitar, a Gibson Les Paul custom electric with an estimated value of $4,500, was snatched after an Aug. 29 performance at Ucluelet’s ANAF Hall but the uniqueness of the instrument, as well as its serial number, thwarted the thief’s attempts to sell it.
“Essentially, he went into a store where they looked at the serial number and found out it was stolen and that it belonged to me. While they were looking that up I guess the guy got spooked and left with the guitar so I still didn’t have it but I knew it was in Victoria,” Owen-Flood said.
“Knowing that it was in Victoria, and within reach, but at the same time knowing he was trying to sell it so it was just as likely to find a new home and I might not see it again was the most stressful but also the most encouraging part.”
Owen-Flood quickly began calling every Victoria-based music store he could find hoping to intercept his instrument and reached the staff at Guitars Plus who managed to retrieve the guitar by convincing the seller they were interested in buying it.
“He could have found anybody on the side of the road that would have paid $500 for it and I would probably have never seen it again but he happened to go to a store that had a guy that knew I wanted it back so I got very, very, lucky,” Owen-Flood said.
Guitars Plus retrieved the guitar on Oct. 16 and Owen-Flood traveled to Victoria from his Cowichan home for a happy reunion on Oct. 17.
He assured that despite the unfortunate snag in his West Coast experience, he and his Band of Rascals enjoyed playing in Ucluelet and plan to return soon.
“We absolutely loved the show,” he said.
“The band we played with, The Barkley Sounds, we’re just the coolest guys ever. It was definitely a good experience aside from the loss of the gear but I don’t think that’s the blame of Ucluelet at all; I think it was an out-of-towner.”
Police believe the ANAF was closed and locked at the time of the theft but the thief, or thieves, were able to climb through an unsecured window.
The ANAF’s co-interim manager Bronwyn Kelleher told the Westerly measures have been taken to ensure similar experiences don’t befall future bands booked by the hall.
“We have reinforced the point of entry and are confident the building is now more secure than ever,” she said.
“It’s too bad something like this happened in Ukee but we all have to be a little more vigilant than we were in the past. We welcome Malcom and his group Band of Rascals to come back and play another show at the hall anytime they like.”