Phoenix police have confirmed that someone tried to sell Lamb of God guitarist Willie Adler's "Warbird" guitar on OfferUp.com on Saturday, three days after it was stolen from Ak-Chin Pavilion.
Police also encouraged the public to call Silent Witness and leave an anonymous tip, with a possible reward of up to $1,000 for information.
Adler published an anguished note on Instagram over the weekend about the theft, which occurred early Thursday morning before the metal band's show at the venue later that night. Thieves also swiped band member John Campbell's unique, hand-painted Jay Ceerva bass guitar, Adler wrote in the widely shared post. Lamb of God is currently on tour with Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, and Slayer; they put on a well-received performance on Thursday despite the theft.
"The pieces of shit that did this are suspected to be employed by @akchin.pavilion. local hands that were working Wednesday, our tour production day. Apparently, they waited around for all to leave, and made their way into the back of our semi to commit this felony. AGAIN..under the watch of @akchin.pavilion and their security. Karma is a fuckin bitch," Adler seethed in his Saturday post.
Ak-Chin Pavilion hasn't returned a call from Monday about the thefts; Phoenix New Times left another message today.
Phoenix police say they actively are investigating the crime.
Adler's black-and-gold Warbird by ESP Guitars incorporates avian artwork from the group's groundbreaking 2004 album, Ashes of the Wake. His years of thrashing on it produced a well-worn look that ESP duplicates with a "distressing" treatment for knockoffs. But apparently, the real thing actually did show up on the popular classified-ad style website, according to cops.
"One did turn up on OfferUp," said Phoenix Police Sergeant Vince Lewis about the stolen guitars. "We have yet to name a suspect or recover either guitar. Our investigators are actively working this case. The more we release, the harder it becomes to catch up with a suspect or locate these items before either go underground or into the wind."
Following Monday's New Times article about the theft, a reader mentioned that the Warbird had been offered up on OfferUp by someone calling themselves "Clash With."
A Peoria Facebook user who goes by the online name Jay Thrash raised the possibility of vigilante justice.
"I sent him full offer," Thrash told his online buddies after posting a screenshot of the Warbird-hawking ad. "Tryna see if i can meet up..beat his fuckin ass."
Thrash went on to say that he'd notified police about the ad, and that he'd messaged Adler to see if the guitarist would share the guitar's serial number, so Thrash — if he had the chance — could compare it with the one being offered.
On Tuesday, Thrash confirmed that he did indeed reach Adler, who told him about the guitar in the ad, "That's 100 percent mine."
Thrash sent screenshots of his chat with Adler, who sounded pleasantly surprised at Thrash's pluck: "Ok, so you're 'buyin' It? That's fuckin awesome. Get the cops involved regardless. I'll see if we have the serial. It's 100 percent my guitar."
"Waiting on serial," Adler then told him. "But dude, I'll pay ya the 300 bones to cover ya. I just want this asshole to get his teeth knocked out. Bout to head to stage to play a show. Keep me posted man. And thank you."
Thrash, a longtime Lamb of God fan who attended Thursday's concert, said his first thought upon making contact with Adler was: "Pretty cool, I'm talking with Willie Adler!"
But he also felt he was on a mission. Not only was the victim a guitarist from one of his favorite bands, but it felt personal to Thrash, he said, relating that when he was a kid, he had a guitar that was stolen.
After seeing the initial post and contacting Adler, Thrash posted another screenshot on Saturday afternoon that showed how he planned to meet the seller, "Clash With" in the Phoenix area.
"Its fucking going down!" Thrash told fellow Facebookers excitedly after the exchange.
But Thrash soon indicated with another screenshot that the man had failed to reply, and Thrash wrote to his group, "I think we lost em guys.... Even changed his profile pic..."
Thrash then sent an apologetic text to Adler. "Sorry Mr Adler," he wrote. "Dont think they are going to sell to me. Tried to do the right thing."
Thrash told New Times it was exciting to think he might help catch the thief, and that "the people online were cheering me on."
He added of the thief, "Stealing someone's work — their livelihood — it's like they're a cockroach."
Sergeant Lewis said police will share more information with the public when possible. He urged anyone with information to call Silent Witness at 480-W-I-T-N-E-S-S, or for Spanish, 480-T-E-S-T-I-G-O, for a possible reward of up to $1,000.
(UPDATE May 8: Live Nation Entertainment, owner of the Ak-Chin Pavilion, put out this message via marketing director Danielle Engel: "The venue is cooperating fully with local law enforcement. We cannot comment further as this is an ongoing investigation.")
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