Vintage Guitars stolen in Florida

Tens of thousands of dollars worth of vintage, rare and top-of-the-line electric guitars, a $4,200 banjo, ukulele and other musical instruments, CDs and equipment were stolen Saturday or Sunday night from Grampa’s Music, 804-A Anastasia Blvd.

Store owners “Grampa Reece” Smith and his wife, C.J., from St. Augustine Beach, re-organized their remaining inventory Tuesday and worked with customers while also moving instruments into spaces left by the ones stolen.

“It could be worse,” Smith said. “There was no damage done to the store. It’s a shock, but we’re recovering well and will continue with business as usual.”

Three guitars — one of which was a red-orange Gretch owned by the Monkees in 1967 — were each worth in the $5,000 range.

St. Augustine Police reported that the thieves may have entered by opening a locking bolt on the steel back door, which the Smiths found open when they arrived Monday.

Police Officer Walter Makowski reported, “I could not see any signs of a forced entry on the door or steel frame.”

In addition to the inventory, the thieves found $150 and a spare key to a white 1996 Dodge Caravan from behind the counter, loaded the instruments in the van and drove away.

The vehicle, with Grampa’s Music logos on its back windows, is covered by insurance. The inventory isn’t.

A custom guitar builder, Paul Reed Smith, had his first production guitar for sale there on consignment. It, too, was missing. It is labeled “Custom 22” and is wine red.

Grandpa Reece remained optimistic, joking that one of the things that irritated him most was the loss of two expensive dark chocolate bars he left on the counter.

“They came in with a list. They knew what they wanted,” he said. “We’ve had many people come in due to the tough economic times, trying to sell instruments.”

But he said he didn’t want to become like the Big Box stores, suspicious of everybody and watching them all the time.

“We’ll improve security but will continue our mellow and pleasant ways,” he said. “Life goes on. I’m not going to change my attitude.”

The missing instruments include:

* Ome Banjo (bluegrass style)

* Martin D35 guitar, 1971

* Ibanez JEM white, Steve Vai model

* Gibson ES330 Red, 1960s

* Gretch Monkees red-orange guitar, 1967

* Compass Rose tenor ukulele, walnut with maple top

* Fender Stratocaster, Gator orange American Standard 1986

* Brian Moore Electric DC-1, cherry sunburst solid body, 1999

* Paul Reed Smith, Custom 22, wine red