Monday, December 21, 2009

Stolen Band Gear: Taking It Into Our Own Hands

A year ago, a ton of bands either from Montréal or just touring in our fine town got their gear or van stolen, a veritable who's-who of national and international talent: Iggy & The Stooges, Patrick Krief, The Dears, Black Halos, Earl Slick, Bison, Hamilton trading Company, French Kicks, Attack In Black, Comeback Kid, Pascale Picard Band, Mike Deway, Priestess, Panthers, Malcolm Bauld, People For Audio, Speakerbruiser, Yomul Yuk - as well as the offices of Signed By Force Records.

Well, it's happened again, recently, to at least 4 more.

But change is on the horizon.

Stuff from Comeback Kid, whose gear had been stolen in October 2008, was recently seen at a bazaar in St-Henri - 50 T-shirts and close to 20 CDs. The man selling them was claiming he had traded with another seller at a flea market in St-Eustache and gotten this lot in return, and he agreed to give the stuff back to a friend of the band and give a description of the St-Eustache vendor.

After talking about it with the band, the friend decided to get the police involved to maybe, hopefully, recover the rest of the stuff.

Predictably, the cop who took the call didn't think it was important enough to investigate further and just let it fly, adding that stolen band gear isn't a problem in this city and that the police have bigger and better fish to fry. I say ''predictably'' because that particular officer likely never answered the call when the 50 other acts reported their stuff stolen; it likely neevr even got to him, the reports were just filed and, after a while of not being resolved, just re-filed in the 'unsolved cases' lot and forgotten about.

This is where bands' responsibilities lie in getting their shit back: when you called the cops, they gave you a reference number, a file number, and the name of the agent in charge of your file. He's the one you need to call - and tell him about this particular situation, making sure to mention you are aware of up to 50 other such cases, and that if following this lead could resolve even half of them, it'd be that many 'unsolved cases' off the hands of whoever doesn't have the time to deal with it.

When you speak with him, do so respectfully. Their job is to serve and protect, but they do put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis - even if not in this particular case. That being said, also keep in mind that you, as a taxpayer, pay his salary. He is there to make your life safer. You are the boss, they do the hard work. If you can make that clear to yourself, in your head, before making the call, you should not have a problem being both authoritative and respectful - and you could possibly make this case go forward by giant leaps.

It's what ''Taking it into our own hands'' means: if all you do is call and inquire about how your case is developping and they have no idea where to look, it'll stay stale and nothing will ever move; if you help them out, they'll be grateful. Trust me, your case might be small potatoes compared to the shit they deal with on a daily basis, but it's also a welcome break from smack peddlers - and they hate leaving cases unfinished.

Good luck.

1 comment: said...

Thanks for this post and do continue with this initiative.

I had a van that got broken into last year and another that was stolen (with equipment, merch, and personal belongings) a few years ago. The two incidents occurred overseas (Belgium and Budapest) and I hate to think similar things are happening in this city (not that Montreal is "à l'abris" of crime but it is a small city with a very active music community and I agree with you that a certain amount of mobilization and awareness (staying alert) can help.