3 arrested for stealing guitar from Chuck Berry's home
POSTED: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 11:04pm
Wentzville, MO (KTVI) — The Wentzville area retreat of rock and roll legend Chuck Berry was the scene of three arrests Thursday afternoon, after cops caught up with burglars there. It was the third intrusion on the property this week.
St. Charles sheriff's deputies tell FOX 2 they received a call to the home on Monday, reporting someone had snuck into an office on the property and stolen a valuable Gibson guitar belonging to Berry. The guitar, a 1978 vintage ES-355 is valuable in and of itself. One sold for nearly $4500 recently on eBay. And that one didn't belong to Chuck Berry.
"I'm not sure which one it was absolutely, but just the fact that it's Chuck's," friend and Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards said when asked of the instrument's value.
But the guitar apparently wasn't enough for the burglars.
The next day, Tuesday, deputies say they were called back to the compound, where thieves had taken thirty used tractor batteries, three power washers, and a couple of pry bars. A leaf blower was also stolen. The total combined value of these decidedly uncollectable items was less than half of the stolen guitar.
Then Thursday, the phone was ringing again at the sheriff's office. This time neighbors noticed men pulling onto the property in a U-Haul style truck and a van about 12:30 p.m. Deputies arrived and found the men.
Longtime neighbor Sam Harris was shocked to learn his friend across the street was repeatedly targeted. After all, Chuck Berry isn't just a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. He's a senior citizen.
"It's unreal really," Harris said. "Somebody that age, 85 years old. Why would you want to bother them? I don't understand it."
Officials say all three are now in custody, being questioned by detectives. No charges have been filed yet.
In the middle of all this, Wednesday night, Berry played his traditional, monthly show in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill. Edwards said the musician, whose statue stands across the street, never let on to his week of harassment.
"Chuck has always been the consummate performer, and the show must go on," Edwards said.
"I think he just won't let anything get in the way of going out and giving the audience everything he can give, so that's why he kept mum I think."
A woman answering the phone at the Berry compound didn't have any comment.