YOU don’t touch a farmer’s working dog, you don’t touch a chef’s knives – and in the Country Music Capital, you don’t touch a musician’s guitar.
When that unspoken rule was broken and a distinctive guitar stolen from a Tamworth music shop last week, there was a swell of community outrage and support.
As a result, the instrument was back in the owners’ hands within less than 24 hours – despite reportedly having changed hands three or four times in between.
Shop owner Ash Hawken said a couple had spent about half an hour there on the Thursday morning, saying they were looking for a guitar for their nephew. As soon as his back was turned, they left with a new $1600 white 12-string Gretsch.
Sharon Hawken said the thieves were barely out the door when the community kicked into gear.
“A lady across the road saw the guy walking out with it and noticed the price tag on it, and immediately thought it was suspicious. She yelled to the power lady … who’d just been in to read our power to let the shop know that a guitar had just been stolen.”
Police arrived quickly and got the security camera footage. The Hawkens put out a plea for help on Facebook, which was shared hundreds of times. An 88.9FM presenter shared the news on air. People notified other music shops in the region and even the taxi service.
Within a few hours, a resident who’d heard about the guitar’s theft saw someone walking into a house with it and called police.
“It was less than 24 hours and we had it back hanging up in the store, so that was just a tremendous job on the part of the police force,” Mrs Hawken said.
Mr Hawken said: “It’s something that probably strikes close to home for a lot of people, the fact that a lot of stuff gets stolen … [but] when a community comes together, we can win against crime. Tamworth 1; crims zero.”