Oh Noes! They Took Mah Geetarr!

[Greetings to the Redditors sent on this quest by Wil Wheaton; it’s heartening right now to hear from so many people who aren’t dicks!]

So, a semi-eventful day today…we flew into O’Hare Airport around lunchtime, in anticipation of our show Monday night at Lincoln Hall with Peter Sagal (hey, you all should *totally* come, it’s gonna be awesome!). As it happened, Friend of the Band Grant Imahara tweeted that he was in O’Hare at the same time, so we walked a couple terminals over to meet up with him for a bit. Once we left Grant and headed back to baggage claim a short while later, all our bags were slowly riding around the carousel.

All of them, that is, except for one: Storm’s guitar. Storm’s expensive Martin DC-AURA, the acoustic guitar he’s played exclusively for the past three years.


We went to the US Airways baggage center and asked about it, and if it might have come out anywhere else by mistake. The people there—who, we must note, were EXTREMELY HELPFUL (and continue to be), tracked it as having come into the airport, and a couple employees mentioned seeing it on the carousel earlier. But a search of the area yielded nothing. The US Airways baggage folks took our report, said a police report would be filed, and there was always the (faint) hope that it just got misplaced somewhere. It has not yet turned up, and at this point is presumed stolen.

We whined about it on Twitter (like you do), but remain circumspect. All in all, while it sucks for it to have been stolen, and it’s got a good deal of sentimental value, it is insured; so, you know. And we thought that was going to be it, but for the paperwork and the waiting and the borrowing of a guitar for tomorrow night’s show (and it looks like we’re all set there, thanks to those who offered).

But then, as he is occasionally wont to do, Neil Gaiman retweeted about it (from a post originally by our friend Bill Stitler); and all manner of retweets, condolences and calls for vengeance are pouring in. (To the point where, as of this writing, the top three trending topics in Chicago on Twitter are “@paulandstorm”, “DC AURA” and “#guitarthief”)

So first of all, thank you all. (And thank you, Neil) Second of all, please note: WE ARE NOT UPSET WITH US AIRWAYS. They have been nothing but responsive and helpful in all this, and we DO NOT seek to bring the Power of the Internets down on their heads, “United Breaks Guitars”-style.

Third of all, since there’s a lot of eyes on this at the moment, we thought we’d post a description of the guitar and case, in case anyone in the area runs across it somewhere, or if you were in the airport around 1-1:30 p.m. and might have seen it. You never know, right?


The guitar itself doesn’t have any particular distinguishing markings, other than being a bit scratched up; it’s a Martin DC-AURA, and it looks like this. (Also see picture at the top of this post) There’s also a sticker visible through the sound hole that says “DC AURA”, along with its serial number. UPDATE: serial number is 1215968.

It would be far more recognizable by either its case or the guitar strap (although we’re betting both are long gone at this point). That said, here’s a description of each, in case it shows up at a pawnshop near you:



If whoever took it is dumb enough to include the strap when they try to resell it, it’s a Fender Patchworks cotton 2″ strap with the “nuclear fallout” logo—like the third one from the left in this picture. It also has several small (1″) buttons on it, including one from PAX, a “Don’t be a dick” button, a red button with a picture of bacon on it, our white “Dejected Arrr” button, and possibly a WAMU pin. Here’s a (slightly blurry) shot of the strap with buttons.

Also, there was a silver capo, a couple Jonathan Coulton logo guitar picks, and a sheet of paper with Storm’s name and phone number in it; although if Guitar Thief includes *those* when reselling, then he’s SUPER-DUMB.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your well-wishes and messages of sympathy. Here’s hoping, if we don’t get the guitar back, that at least karma will treat Guitar Thief like a punching bag.

If you do find the guitar, we will lavish praise and whatever goodies we can muster (probably a USB stick, and possibly we’ll bake you some cookies). But even if it is indeed gone forever, it’s really cheered us up knowing that so many people give a damn. Thank you.

UPDATE 11/15/10: Police report is filed; apparently, security cameras did see the guitar go around on the luggage carousel a number of times, but did not see it disappear, nor the culprit. Guitar serial number is 1215968. Reports filed on stolenguitarregistry.com and gearsecure.net. USAirways representatives have continued to be *extremely* helpful and supportive throughout process. (People complain enough when things go wrong; we thought it only fair that others be acknowledged when they’re doing a good job as well)


  1. Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    just a thought, have you tried putting a ‘wanted’ ad on craigslist to see if this villain bites?

  2. Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m so sorry to hear about this. You have my sympathies.

    And, though I can’t be too helpful, have you checked if they might have any security footage? Seems like an airport as busy as O’Hare would have some sort of camera watching over the baggage claim.

  3. Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    I’d be glad to put it up on Gearsecure.net for you, and get it emailed out to the Guitar Centers of the world. I work at the Highland Park location if you need a replacement.

  4. Paul and Storm
    Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    There are security cameras there in baggage claim, we hope/assume that, as the investigation continues, someone at airport security will check them. We’re no longer really in that loop at this point, just getting occasional word from USAirways (“It hasn’t shown up yet”)



  5. Posted November 14, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I do have a some what clear picture (took at PAX during the video project) of the guitar case, if that helps.

    See it here –> http://www.flickr.com/photos/heathbar/4955824679/in/set-72157624750465359/

  6. Yoyogod
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Since you said the case has a Kingdom of Loathing sticker on it, I was just wondering if you play the game?

  7. Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    What an ass. I hope whoever took the guitar gets their head taken off by Jonathan Coulton. I hope you get it back soon.

  8. Posted November 15, 2010 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Digging thru w00tstock Flickr group, I was able to find a better picture of the guitar strap with buttons (and even has a wookie holding it).

    See it here –> http://www.flickr.com/photos/badastronomy/4821554494/in/pool-w00tstock_2x

  9. Posted November 15, 2010 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Uggggh, bastards. Total bastards. I hate it when people appropriate goods which do not belong to them 🙁

    Good luck! Have you filed a police report and/or contacted any pawn shops yet? I imagine if the thief planned to pawn it, they would have tried to do so quickly, before it was reported missing. Probably pawn shops closest to the airport would be a good starting place.

  10. Norm
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Unlike soldiers in Iraq that had limbs taken by psychopaths: it’s a guitar.

  11. September
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    …and ya know, looking at the case makes me somehow madder. I know it’s wrong but how could someone take a case from someone obviously cool and undergoundish? It’s not like it had “Mustang Sally” painted on it 😉

  12. Paul and Storm
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 10:48 am | Permalink


    Um…what? Was there something in the content or tone of this post that implied we were equating the loss of this guitar to the loss of a soldier’s (or anyone’s) limb?

    Right, that’s *exactly* the parallel we’re trying to draw.



  13. SomeGuyNamedM
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Someone stole my guitar once. It was a starburst Harmony Rocket (’62 I think) that had belonged to my grandfather. I feel you pain.

  14. Joseph
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I hate thieves, and as a guitar player and collector I truly feel for your loss, but leaving anything on a luggage carousel is a bad idea. Anything that goes around more than once is fair game for the thieves who watch the carousels, especially if it’s easily identifiable as valuable like a guitar or sports equipment. And there are plenty of thieves in baggage claim areas since they are usually not located in the secured areas of airports. There have been several instances of rings that operate in baggage claim areas and have gotten away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff swiped from the baggage claim area, sometimes involving an inside person working as a baggage handler. So, to anyone else traveling with something valuable in checked luggage, get to the baggage claim area immediately from your terminal and do not let your valuables ride around unattended.

    I wish you luck in getting your guitar back, and will keep my eyes open for your guitar since I visit many forums and used gear websites daily looking for gear.

  15. Brett Glass
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Hope you’re able to recover the instrument! If worse comes to worst and it isn’t found or is damaged, the DC-Aura model is almost certainly still in stock in some places. Or you could upgrade to the GPCPA2, which is the 2010 version of the same guitar with better electronics and materials. (Sounded fantastic when I tried it just recently, and I say this even though I generally like Taylor better.)

  16. Brett Glass
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    P.S. — Just checked, and the shape of the Martin GPCPA2 I played is actually a little different from that of your DC-Aura. But there’s another new model that has exactly the same dimensions and really is the upgraded version of yours: the DCPA3.

  17. Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    One of my friends in Chicago suggested contacting Chicago Music Exchange on watch. All they sell is unique, high-end, used instruments.

  18. Posted November 16, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    One of my friends in Chicago suggested contacting Chicago Music Exchange. All they sell is unique, high-end, used instruments.

    (773) 525-7773

  19. Lioniizz
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Whoever took that guitar left NORM in it’s place. He’s pretty freakin lost too… geez! Good luck guys 😉

  20. nerdrage42
    Posted November 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I think if my guitar got stolen, I’d be most pissed about losing the case. Mine is covered in a bazillion nerdy stickers and I’d be so sad losing that. Guitar…well…I just dabble…my case rocks more than my guitar.

    Guitarma is a BITCH…the Guitar Gods shall smite them! They’ll never rock as hard as you guys…even if they’re in a Metallica coverband called “Track & Hetfield”.

    …And justice for all

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