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Joe Ely Reunited with His Stolen Guitar, Then Robbed Again the Next Day

Joe Ely
Facebook, Joe Ely

Joe Ely was thrilled when he heard the news that his custom-made pool table guitar that had been stolen 27 years earlier in San Francisco was going to be returned to him. But the day after the Texas-based musician and his guitar were reunited, Ely was robbed. Again.

The guitar exchange went as scheduled. Matt Wright, who had bought Joe Ely’s stolen guitar from a pawn shop some two decades ago, met with Ely at Slim’s, a live music venue in San Francisco, and gladly returned the cherished axe to the singer/songwriter on Tuesday night.

But just as our hope in humanity was being restored, something else went wrong. Ely posted this cryptic message on his Facebook page late Wednesday night:

…. and then after the stolen guitar is returned, today had a turn of events to make all of this completely paradoxical. wait to see the story tomorrow in the LA times. also Rueters has picked up the story….today was a mishap that should have never happened…..but it did??

What was Joe talking about? Well, according to, the day after having his guitar returned Ely, his road manager and guitarist pulled into a Denny’s restaurant in Vallejo, California. While inside, parking lot security cameras caught a man smashing in the window of their van, snatching several items out of the vehicle, then taking off. The thief managed to get away with an iPad, a couple laptop computers and a briefcase filled with electronics, passports and birth certificates.

Despite the fact that the entire incident was caught on camera, Vallejo police told Joe that they would not be investigating because the city has filed for bankruptcy and the local police department is understaffed and underfunded as a result.

This seems like something out of a movie. It doesn’t sound promising, but we wish Joe the best in getting his newly stolen stuff back.

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