Alex Skolnick of Testament Recovers Stolen Prototype Guitars

Gear theft is an all too familiar experience for many musicians, and here at Reverb, we're constantly on the prowl to combat the problem. In some cases, gear thieves attempt to unload stolen property at local music stores, leaving shop employees as the last line of defense in helping victims recover their instruments.

As reported by the New York Times on December 25th, this is exactly what happened over a period of months this fall at the Sam Ash Music Store in Midtown Manhattan.

Back in September, a man came to the Sam Ash location to sell a collection of instruments. He told the employees there that these guitars had been left to him by his father – his excuse for not knowing much about them or what they were worth.

Initially, the managers at Sam Ash were satisfied with that answer. They purchased his Gibson that day and close to $5,000 worth of other gear over the weeks that followed. When the seller brought in a Heritage Signature Skolnick with serial number Z20001, though, everything changed.

The managers at Sam Ash noticed that the guitar's serial number indicated that it was not from the regular Hertiage Signature Skolnick line – it was a prototype. Unless Alex Skolnick (of the Alex Skolnick Trio and metal band Testament) had sold this guitar privately, it had likely been stolen from his personal collection.

Though the employees at Sam Ash called the police, they were unable to pursue action against the seller without a formal complaint from Skolnick himself, who had yet to report the guitar missing or stolen.

The managers at Sam Ash got to work contacting Alex Skolnick right away, who was in Berlin with Testament at the time. Skolnick told the managers that he had recently moved a stash of his gear to a CubeSmart storage unit near his apartment in Brooklyn and that he would check it out when he got back to the States.

Sure enough, though his storage unit looked undisturbed, Skolnick found that various guitars from his collection were missing.

It wasn't long before alleged thief John Olds of Harlem returned with another of Alex Skolnick's stolen guitars, his ESP prototype. The managers at Sam Ash again called the police. This time, the seller was taken away in handcuffs.

Olds is currently in jail awaiting trial for possession of stolen property but has maintained his innocence, standing behind the story that his father left him these guitars when he passed. Alex Skolnick, on the other hand, has been reunited with his guitars thanks to the clever detective work by Midtown's Sam Ash employees.

We commend the Sam Ash team for their work in getting these guitars returned to Mr. Skolnick. Take a look at their Reverb shop here.

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