BOZEMAN – Police confirmed that they have identified a suspect in last Friday’s attempted guitar theft at Music Villa guitar shop in Bozeman.
The suspect’s name has not been released and an arrest has not yet been made.
Police began investigating after a man was caught Friday by surveillance video walking out of Music Villa with a guitar.
“Totally, just a normal day, it was just, everything happened so fast,” said Paul Decker, owner at Music Villa.
It was a normal day until things went south when a thief attempted to steal a guitar.
“The guy came in, roughly around noon, and basically grabbed a guitar, sat down, and then immediately walked out the back door,” Decker said.
Decker estimates the whole ordeal happened in under two minutes.
But thanks to a timely encounter with a store employee in the back alley, the thief left the store the same way he came in: empty-handed.
“The employee kind of had a little confusion, about why there’s a guitar with a tag hanging on it, talked to him and said, ‘Where’s your receipt?’ And basically, he handed over the guitar, ripped off the tag, and ran down the alleyway,” Decker said.
The thief tried to take a Taylor acoustic guitar, worth $1,499. That amount is just one dollar short of being able to bring on possible felony charges.
But because of Music Villa’s high-tech surveillance system, along with a little help from Facebook sleuths, they were one step closer to finding their attempted thief.
“We put [the surveillance pictures] on Facebook, and I think it was within two days it just went crazy,” Decker said.
The post had close to 700 shares, and more than 60,000 views and Decker said the outreach is symbolic of Bozeman as a community.
“That’s the cool part about all of this is you know, something like that in our community, people do not like a thief and it really kind of came to our behalf and spread the word,” he said.
Decker said he believes the action on Facebook helped lead police to the possible suspect. He also said the unnamed suspect is someone he believes he has seen in his store before.
But Decker does have one message for anyone who might be thinking pulling a fast one: “Don’t steal guitars, it’s just not good karma.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Bozeman Police Department.
Reporting by Kaitlin Corbett for MTN News