Local Wire

Thieves Return Trailer to U-Haul After Robbing Phoenix Band The Iris in Albuquerque

The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico is often associated with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

When Brandon Dooley, member of Phoenix-based band The Iris, gazed upon the empty trailer they rented to carry their gear, a completely different television program came to his mind.

“I hoped Ashton Kutcher would have popped out to say we were punked,” Dooley says.

According to a news report from krqe.com, the trio recently had played at the downtown Albuquerque bar The Launchpad on February 20 when a thief or thieves stole the band's gear trailer.

Dooley took action and posted on Twitter the details of the stolen trailer. Several hours later, U-Haul tweeted the band to inform them that the stolen trailer was returned to one of their rental stores two miles away. Their equipment was gone. Sadly, Ashton Kutcher wasn’t hiding inside the trailer to tell them it was a joke. Jesse Pinkman wasn’t there to scream expletives at them. Walter White didn’t greet them with a pizza. Various news reports estimate the value of the trailer contents to be between $10,000 and $25,000.

Dooley describes his feelings when he looked inside the empty trailer as “heartbreaking.” 
“We took the necessary precautions,” he says. “I don’t know if there are any [other] precautions you can take.”

Among the stolen equipment was a Gibson gothic Les Paul guitar Dooley has owned since he was old enough to vote. Being a victim of a robbery can make anyone feel violated, but that particular instrument held a special place in his heart. The worn six-string had been played on everything The Iris has recorded.

Talking with law enforcement didn’t offer Dooley much hope, but he says local police were optimistic about recovering the stolen equipment. The officers he spoke to suspected the perpetrators were addicts looking to make a quick few bucks.

Fans’ willingness to help via social media has been a ray of light in this dark story. The Iris’ story has taken off, receiving attention from the local Albuquerque media. Radio and television stations have reported on the band’s plight. Dooley has been overwhelmed by the kindness of those who have offered to help.

The band has no intention of staying away from the scene of the crime. The Iris has played in Albuquerque several times in the past year and their audience continues to increase with each show. Dooley says The Iris' schedule is currently clear, but future shows could be affected depending on what police can recover.

At the time of this writing, Dooley’s optimism has paid off. He reports that some of the equipment was recovered at a pawn shop in North Albuquerque. 

If you have any information, you're encouraged to call Albuquerque Crimestoppers at 505-242-COPS.
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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil