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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Band Finds Its Own Stolen Gear For Sale by St. Louis-Based Seller on Ebay

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Two Cow Garage, whose equipment was stolen in St. Louis in March. - PRESS PHOTO VIA TR AGENCY
  • Press photo via TR Agency
  • Two Cow Garage, whose equipment was stolen in St. Louis in March.

Enter the phrase “bands robbed” into Bing, and the website will dutifully suggest that you complete your search with the phrase “in St. Louis.” While the recent spike in band-owned vehicle break-ins in the area has been infuriating for artists, venue owners and music fans alike, equally vexing is the thought that there must be a simple way to solve at least one of these crimes.

Someone just needs to return a phone call.

See also: Tour Van Break-Ins Have St. Louis in Music-Industry Crosshairs

Attempting to replace over $10,000 in gear stolen after a show in St. Louis last March, Two Cow Garage’s David Murphy made an amazing discovery while searching for replacements on Ebay: the band’s own equipment. According to Murphy, Ebay says they will release the seller’s information to the St. Louis Police, but the police will not return their call.

Dan Howard, captain of the St. Louis Metro Police Department’s fourth district, however, says the problem runs in the opposite direction — that Ebay will not return calls from police.

“I get it,” Murphy says,”[that] whoever is popping a lock or smashing a window is probably not the same guy who is selling it online. But still, there’s a funnel there somewhere. To have that person shut down would be awesome, and to know that there was a shot at that [which] was completely fumbled — it’s frustrating as hell.”

Murphy’s frustrations began the morning of March 25. The group played the Demo the night before and, familiar with the rash of break-ins in the city, had taken extra precautions to secure its van and gear by parking in the covered, gated lot attached to the Sheraton Hotel on Fourteenth Street. The extra safeguards were all for naught, however, as thieves navigated their way around the lot's enhanced security and cleaned out all of the band’s equipment.

click to enlarge The popped lock on Two Cow Garage's van. - DAVID MURPHY
  • David Murphy
  • The popped lock on Two Cow Garage's van.

“They popped the driver’s lock,” Murphy remembers. “They didn’t even chip the paint on it; they did a really clean job . Then you could see where they had wiped down like a six-inch diameter around every door handle. They knew what they were doing.”

See also: Tour Van Break-Ins Return to St. Louis After Brief Reprieve

A hotel employee called police and the band members gave a statement and then left to play their next gig in Minnesota, borrowing equipment to finish out the tour. Hours later, a fan and radio DJ in Denver started an online fundraising campaign that would net more than $12,000 before the band asked for it to be shut down in order not to “gouge” fans, according to Murphy.

Then, as the band began shopping for replacement equipment, they found exactly what they were looking for. Literally.

One of the first pieces they tried to replace was a unique guitar owned by guitarist Todd Farrell, Jr.

“There’s not a lot of them out there,” Murphy says. “So we go online and start looking and sure enough there’s one out there on Ebay in one of the suburbs north of St. Louis. The serial number was on there, and the last number of the serial number was different than ours — everything else was the same. Ours either ended up in a six or a nine and this one was the opposite of that six or nine. If someone knew what they were doing they could just grab it on Photoshop and turn it upside down.”

Next: the band bids on the equipment.

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