130 People Have Been Arrested In Connection With A Music Gear Theft Ring In The US

Getting your gear stolen on tour is pretty much every muso’s worst nightmare.

Even if it’s just a couple of guitars, we’re talking losses in the thousands of dollars (not to mention the priceless sentimental value that some instruments can have).

And the worse thing is, it seems like we’re always hearing about these kinds of things happening. Aussie rockers Pond lost thousands of bucks worth of equipment when their van was broken into during their US tour two years ago, while American metalcore band iwrestledabearonce took a $20,000 hit when their entire bloody touring trailer was stolen in Texas last year.

And speaking of Texas, it seems like gear theft is particularly common there, judging by the fact that police have just arrested more than 100 people in a huge bust, which involved a criminal organisation trading heavily in the sale of musicians’ instruments.

Dubbed “Operation Wheels and Deals”, the investigation was carried out by a joint force that included the Houston Police Department together with several neighbouring PD’s and Homeland Security agents.

“I have never seen an operation that was this vast,” HPD Lieutenant Mike Osina said of the bust (via Reverb), which has resulted in more than 200 charges being laid against no less than 130 individuals, who can now expect a hard slap in the face from lady justice.

Capt. Daryn Edwards of the Houston Police Department has also shed more light on how the syndicate operated.

“Our CID detectives presented our finding to the DA’s office, and showed that this was not an organised crime ring in the traditional sense, but it was mainly criminals working in groups of 10, that were interchanging groups based on their job skills, and the geographical locations of targeted property,” he said (via Alt Press).

Hopefully the bust results in at least some musos getting their gear back.

And in the meantime, it seems like Aussies touring in Texas can rest at least a little bit easier.

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