When Evan Lamb lost $60,000 worth of guitars and sound equipment to a brazen early-morning gas station van-jacking, we never thought he'd find his gear.
But yesterday, a fence with a conscience contacted Lamb and returned the goods during a 5 a.m. transaction near the airport.
The cops were none too pleased Lamb didn't invite them to the party, but he was glad just to have his prized guitars back.
His van, computer, and a box of cash are still missing. Here's what Lamb had to say about the experience.
Crossfade: So, you got your stuff, or at least some of it back, how'd that come about?
Evan Lamb: So, from being on CBS news I got a random email that said, "You need to call this guy, they know where your stuff is," and it had a phone number, no name or anything. I was like, "Thanks, I appreciate the help, but who is they?" I had to work late so I checked my email at, like, 1 a.m. and it said, "This isn't the guy who stole your stuff. This is the guy who bought it."
So I called him up and he seemed on the level. I got his address and drove out to his house at about 5 a.m. and got back, like, all the equipment that I really care about. The van and the laptop is still missing.
How'd you end up on TV?
A friend of mine knows a bunch of different reporters, and they were like fighting over the story, but New Times beat everybody to it.
Who was the guy you got the stuff back from?
I didn't even get his name. He was a tall late-'20s black guy. Really nice guy.
How much did he pay for all your stuff?
He said he paid $1,200 for everything.
Did he know the thief?
He said he didn't know the guy, had only met him twice. He said they unloaded all my gear straight from my van to him.
Did you tell the cops?
I notified the police that we recovered the equpment, but that the van is still at large.
What did they say?
The police were kind of mad that I didn't have them meet me out there at the guy's house, but I just wanted to get my stuff back. They're gonna go talk to him.
You gave them his info?
That's kinda putting him in a situation 'cause he was buying stolen property. That's the guy that called you to return you your stuff.
He said it was cool if I wanted to have the cops go there with me. He just thought it was the right thing to do. They're gonna go talk to him, but I'm urging them to leave that guy alone.
Have you been driving around where it happened, looking for the thief?
About six or seven hours a day. I only been sleeping a couple hours a night.
What you gonna do if you see them?
I'll try to keep em' in sight and then call the cops. I'm no hero.
What do you think about the reaction you got?
I knew I had some friends, but the reaction was ridiculous. I couldn't believe the overwhelming support. I had some people give me a guitar and amp just to have equipment to use. I'm gonna give it back.
What about the benefit show for you? Is that still happening?
I think it's still gonna happen. I had a cashbox full of all the money from the Juke CDs we sold. My van is still gone. It's insured, but I don't think they'll be supergenerous. I'm hoping just to have a jam session, but there's definitely still some loss there.
How much cash was in the box?
Between $400 and $600. It was a good amount of money.
Has anybody been like, "Yo, it's all his fault for leaving the car running like that?"
I said that from the beginning, that it was all my fault. My mom was talking to a police officer and she was getting angry 'cause I still haven't seen the surveillance footage. She was getting heated, protecting her baby, and the cop was like, "Is it our fault that your son left his car running?" She got mad and every four letter word in the book came out of her mouth. I have no ill will toward the cops, they got a lot to deal with, but she was obviously frustrated by his comments.
So what have you learned from all this?
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Just don't leave the keys in the car. Ever. Anywhere. It's frustrating, but it's cool.
On the Lamb: A Benefit for Evan Lamb's Stolen Musical Livelihood. With Omine, Monkey, Suénalo's Adrian Gonzalez, Aaron Lebos, Afrobeta, Allstar Jam, The Cornerstoners, and others. Wednesday, October 3. The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is a $5 suggested donation. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-9577 or visit thestagemiami.com.