We're excited when anyone is reunited with their stolen gear. Last night, June 2014 Guitar Player cover guitarist, Zakk Wylde, was reunited (well, almost) with the pelham blue bullseye Gibson Les Paul Custom stolen from his tour bus during an Experience Hendrix show on March 14 in Chicago. For the last few weeks, social media sites have blown up with photos of the missing guitar.
It's still unclear who took it from the bus that night, but ten days later, on March 24th, the guitar came in to Royal Pawn Shop in Chicago. According to owners Wayne and Randy Cohen, the staff didn't recognize it, and only paid "a couple of hundred dollars" for it, because of concerns that hooks drilled into the back of the guitar had reduced its value.
In compliance with state law, the seller was ID'd and the guitar went into storage for 30 days before it could be put out for sale. When the time came for the guitar to be sold, the brothers, sensing it might have been worth more, wanted to be sure they were pricing it correctly, and brought it to George Coutretsis at Chicago Music Exchange for his opinion—just before closing time last night.
Coincidentally, Chicago Music Exchange was a sponsor of the Experience Hendrix show, and had already been contacted by Andrew McKaeg on behalf of Wylde to be on the look out for the stolen guitar.
As soon as Coutretsis saw the pelham blue bullseye LP without a case come through the door, the wheels were already turning. When he turned it over and saw the tell-tale hooks (which Zakk uses instead of strap buttons) and two stickers—one reading "Drop D" and the other "10-56"—his suspicions were further confirmed. He called McKaeg, who connected him to Zakk's wife, Barbaranne, and read off the serial number. It was a match.
The guitar is now in the hands of the Chicago Police Department, but it is expected to be back in the hands of Zakk Wylde very soon. Barbaranne Wylde was quick to thank everyone involved in the recovery from her personal Twitter account.