Metal!

Police Arrest Three Men in Theft of Lamb of God Guitars, Which Remain Missing

The two missing Lamb of God guitars.
The two missing Lamb of God guitars. Phoenix police
(UPDATE May 15 — Phoenix police released photos of the two guitars, and said they're worth $11,000 apiece. Police ask anyone with information on the crime or the whereabouts of the guitars to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS, 480-948-6377, or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish speakers. Police previously said a reward of up to $1,000 was possible. The story has also been updated to reflect that police now say it was just two guitars, not three, that were stolen.)

Phoenix police have arrested three men on suspicion of stealing two guitars from the metal band Lamb of God before the band's May 2 show at Ak-Chin Pavilion.

Police said in a Tuesday morning news release that the guitars remain missing.

The thefts from the Phoenix concert venue of the legendary metal band's guitars became a worldwide news story after guitarist Willie Adler published a bitter post about the crime on Instagram. As Phoenix New Times reported last week, one fan from metro Phoenix found Adler's unique "Warbird" ESP guitar on OfferUp.com and tried to get it back for the band.


Adler said a "Jay Ceerva" one-of-a-kind, hand-painted bass guitar was stolen, too.

click to enlarge Michael Blakeslee and William Widener - MCSO
Michael Blakeslee and William Widener
MCSO
In Tuesday's release, Phoenix Police Sergeant Vince Lewis gave a few details about what happened and the arrests.

Sometime before midnight and 4:30 a.m. on May 2, "someone entered the trailer where musical equipment belonging to a band was being held and removed two unique and valuable guitars," Lewis said. "Phoenix Police detectives located one of the guitars for sale on an online app. Another suspect attempted to pawn one of the guitars, but was turned away. Through the course of the investigation, detectives identified and located three suspects."

Police served a search warrant in Mesa at about 10:30 p.m. on May 8 and nabbed Michael Blakeslee, 51, and William Widener, 62. Police apprehended Justin Petersen, 34, the next day. Each was booked into jail on suspicion of theft and trafficking in stolen property.

The two "guitars are still outstanding and this portion of the investigation is ongoing," Lewis said.

Despite the thefts, Lamb of God, currently on tour with Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Slayer, played to a packed crowd on May 2 before departing for other destinations.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern