Back in March while in Chicago for the Experience Hendrix tour, Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde had a custom Gibson Pelham Blue guitar (along with a BLS vest) stolen from his tour bus. Thankfully, the guitar has been recovered from a pawn shop and will soon be reunited with Wylde. The Chicago Tribune reports that about a month ago, the custom axe, valued at $10,000, was sold to the Royal Pawn Shop, less than a mile away from the Chicago Theater where it was stolen outside of, for only $50.
While the pawn shop, like all others in the area, were alerted to keep a lookout for Zakk’s guitar, the store owner promptly forgot about it. “I forgot about (the alert),” co-owner Randy Cohen told the Tribune. “That happens every day. To be honest, I can’t remember (expletive).” And this is coming from a pawn shop that was professional enough to have been featured on Tru TV’s Hardcore Pawn: Chicago. Even though they forgot to look at the alert, they did take down the guitar’s serial number and the seller’s information, though. There’s a 30 day ordinance in Chicago for things sold to a pawn shop, and at some point, Cohen and his brother Wayne realized the guitar might be worth more than what it was offered. When they took it to Chicago Music Exchange to get an expert appraisal on Friday following the ordinance, it was quickly ID’d as Wylde’s guitar.
It’s excellent that Wylde will be getting back his guitar, and also unsurprising that a pawn shop might be a little lax in checking alerts. And it also speaks to the nature of the thieves that took it. If they’d done research, they probably could have gotten a hell of a lot more than $50 for it, but obviously were just looking for a quick turnaround. Hopefully, cops are able to track down the guy that sold it, but don’t hold your breath. The good news is that Wylde will be reunited with a custom guitar.