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Security guard booked in theft of Tom Petty's guitars

April 17, 2012 |  5:42 pm

Tom Petty
A private security guard at Culver Studios was arrested after Culver City police said Tuesday that he stole five vintage guitars belonging to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and sold one of them to a Hollywood pawnshop.

Daryl Emmette Washington, 51, was booked Monday on suspicion of grand theft, said Lt. Ron Iizuka.

The stolen guitars consist of Petty’s 1967 12-string Rickenbacker and Gibson SG TV Junior, Ron Blair's Fender Broadcaster, Scott Thurston's 1967 Epiphone Sheridan and Mike Campbell's blue Dusenberg, which was built for Campbell to commemorate the band's 30th anniversary.

Four of the guitars were reported stolen April 12 while Petty was rehearsing at the studios in advance of the band's 2012 North America-Europe tour, which kicks off Wednesday in Broomfield, Colo. The next day, a fifth guitar turned up missing.

The break in the case came after police got a tip through social media that one of the guitars was at a Hollywood pawnshop, Iizuka said. Police recovered one of the guitars and identified the person who sold it to the shop.

Culver City police detectives then obtained a search warrant for Washington's residence and recovered the four other guitars.

Police said Petty was "extremely pleased and relieved" that his guitars had been found.

After the arrest, Culver Studios President and Chief Executive James C. Cella issued "profound apologies" to the band.

"Our Security Department cooperated fully with the Culver City Police in the effort to solve this crime," Cella said in a statement.

"Even though the alleged culprit was not an employee of The Culver Studios but worked for an independent contractor, we feel a real sense of responsibility for everything that happens on our lot and we have conveyed our profound apologies to Mr. Petty for the distress this incident has caused him."


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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

Photo: Tom Petty performs at a benefit concert at Cal State Northridge last year. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles TImes