Merv French, the owner of 14 signed guitars stolen in the past week, is not letting the theft affect his love of country music. Photo by Stephen Jeffery.THE OWNER of 14 stolen guitars signed by some of rock’s biggest names says the thieves left behind the most treasured instrument in his collection.
Detectives are investigating the theft of the collector guitars from a shed at the back of Merv French’s property in Manly West, on Brisbane’s bayside.
The instruments, which Mr French purchased from a friend two years ago, are worth an estimated $30,000 and were signed by rock luminaries including the Eagles, Kiss, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss and The Choirboys.
However, the culprits left behind all of the acoustic guitars, including the most valuable instrument in the collection; one signed by country music stars Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Slim Dusty.
“If someone wanted to buy it I would take $6000 for it, nothing less,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful old Fender; I’ve seen Slim playing it on videos.”
Mr French, a country music aficionado who cites Dusty as his favourite artist, turned to guitar playing six years ago as a way to cope with the death of his wife.
The 81-year-old continues to host friends for jam sessions at the makeshift studio in his Berrimilla Street house.
While Mr French said he’d have “a few words” to say to the thieves if he ever met them, he asked that they either return the instruments to him or forfeit them to police.
Merv French points out some of the guitars left behind in his collection after a burglary this week. Photo by Stephen Jeffery.
“They’re not going to be any good to them, because anyone who knows guitars [won’t touch them],” he said.
Officers from Cleveland CIB have informed local pawnbrokers about the theft, and are searching websites such as Gumtree and eBay for the stolen goods.
Anyone with information about the burglary can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Rare guitars stolen from Manly West
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