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2 stolen guitars recovered, Oregon Music Hall of Fame still seeking others

By Chandler Watkins

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Oregon Music Hall of Fame President Terry Currier said he was shocked when they discovered 72 of their signed guitars had been stolen from their storage unit in northeast Portland earlier this year.

“We had our storage unit broken into on Feb. 20,” Currier said. “It turned out we weren’t notified until Feb. 28, so we missed a whole week. We had 70 guitars stolen from the storage unit, 27 I believe were archival guitars.”

Each year, they auction off these guitars to give four college-bound students a scholarship for music education and bring music to schools that don’t offer those programs. Their induction ceremony, their biggest fundraiser of the year, is slated for Oct. 8 at the Aladdin Theater.

The stolen guitars ranged from Fender Stratocasters and Fender Squires to Gibsons. They had signatures from The Monkees, Lucinda Williams, Dave Mason and actor Tim Robbins.

“These guitars are definitely invaluable,” Currier said. “Some of the artists who have signed these guitars are no longer with us. The ones that hurt us the most are the archival guitars with the inductees on it, because some of those inductees have passed, so we will never be able to replace those guitars. I can always go out and get more guitars signed, there are plenty of artists who are touring, and a lot are sympathetic to music education because it was very important in their lives growing up. It was just a giant gut ache.”

After news of the stolen guitars broke, Currier said the community has stepped up to help them.

“We’ve had a lot of people come forward, some amateur detectives, call us and ask us what they can do to help,” Currier said. “We have had two people who have bought guitars in the past in the auction donate their guitars back. One was a k.d. lang guitar and another was a Willie Nelson guitar. Both of them will raise a good amount of money. What a great gesture that was. It’s good to see the Portland community rally around a cause like this.”

This week, Portland police announced its investigation into the stolen guitars led them to recover two of the guitars along with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of other stolen items. Eric Michael Lamberton, 40, was arrested and charged with aggravated theft and burglary, among other charges. He pleaded not guilty.

“I was so happy to have those two recovered,” Currier said. “Hopefully that was a lead that will put us in touch with the other stolen guitars. We just hope these things show up. The two guitars that were recovered were archival guitars.”

Currier is still holding out hope that the remaining guitars will be found or returned. His message to those who may have the stolen guitars:

“If you have these guitars out there, you can bring them to me at the Music Millennium Store no questions asked,” he said. “You’ll be doing a great thing for music education and kids in the state of Oregon.”

Portland police continues to investigate and is asking anyone with tips to contact them through crimetips@portlandoregon.gov.

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