One night, almost a year ago, my band was playing a gig. Late in the evening, our guitar player returned home and dropped off most of the equipment used that evening at his home. The home was also our practice space. He then left again for an hour or two. When he returned the front door was open and a can of bear spray was sitting in the front hallway. Most of the band’s equipment was gone.
Over the next day or two we went through all the normal steps, the police reports and trying to reconcile what was gone. The biggest problem was just that, trying to reconcile what was gone. A lot of stuff was rather obvious. Some things were not. Even as recent as a few months ago we noticed we couldn’t find something then realized that it was also stolen.
The biggest problem was, besides not taking adequate steps to prevent the robbery in the first place, was that we didn’t have any of the information we needed to sufficiently report the robbery to the police. The more details you have the easier it is actually recover your lost property.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty and that’s what this new website, GuitarRegistry.net, is all about.
What you need to do, and what we wish we had, was to record all the information you have about your gear before it goes missing. It doesn’t matter if it is a guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drum kit, PA, amplifier or whatever. If it has a serial number, get it into this registry.
The search key for this website is Brand, Model, Serial Number and Photos. If you have all this information at hand it makes life a lot easier when you need to use it.
So what happens if your favourite guitar goes missing after a gig at your local pub? Your first step is to log into your Guitar Registry account and flag the item as missing. Then you can report it to the authorities complete with photographs and serial numbers. This will help you get a lot more credibility with the police. Instead of reporting to the police, “Somebody stole my guitar”. Police, “Can you give me some information?”. You, “It was red.” That’s not going to help.
One thing that can help is being to being able to relay pertinent information to the right places. Thieves often steal stuff simply to get some quick cash. What you need to do is to get your information out quickly to all the places where the thieves will try to sell stuff.
The most obvious one is Craigslist. After our own robbery, Craiglist was an important part of getting a number of instruments back. Being able to post photos and serial numbers goes a long way to helping others recognize your gear.
You can also take this information to local pawnshops and music stores. Contrary to what you may believe, most pawnshops want nothing to do with stolen items. And in many places they need to keep items for thirty days before they can sell them and they have to check with police to verify they are not stolen.
So here’s my little Rod Serling moment, “Imagine a world were stolen property is so hot, and so easy to identify, that nobody wants to steal it. If thieves couldn’t sell what they steal. Just maybe there would be no theft.”
Well maybe in an alternate universe, but the reality it this: Register your stuff with GuitarRegistry.net. Then get everyone you know to register their stuff too. If enough stuff is registered and websites like this one get enough traffic and notoriety, then maybe the next time someone is looking in the window of your car and sees a guitar case, maybe they’ll just carry on to the next car.
Please check out GuitarRegistry.net. It’s free. It’s easy. And, it’s private. The website does not require you to leave more information about yourself than your name and email address. Your member ID is the only information that will ever be shared. But don’t use “elvispresley”, I’ve already got it.
The website does want to know what country you are in and where geographically you are. Is, “Utah” too personal?
Then go register!