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Tom Petty and Heartbreakers' stolen guitars found, man arrested

April 17, 2012 |  1:37 pm

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Culver City detectives have arrested man in connection with the theft of five vintage guitars belonging to members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from a studio last week.

The guitars were stolen from a sound stage at The Culver Studios in Culver City, according to the band’s website. A reward of $7,500 with “no questions asked” was offered.

No immediate details on the arrest were available and the Culver City Police Department is holding a press conference at about 3 p.m. to discuss the case.

The guitars were reported missing Thursday 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 guitars include 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.

Petty, originally from Gainesville, Fla., first recorded in Los Angeles in 1974. At the time, he was an unknown, living in seedy hotels and on advances when he got the phone number of Shelter Records one day while eating at Ben Frank’s on the Sunset Strip.

After signing with the record company, he was playing one night in a studio when the descending chords of the hit “Breakdown” came to him.

In 1977, the song got air play on KHJ, squeezed in with songs by KISS and Andy Gibb, and it eventually landed on Billboard’s Top 40. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

On an unrelated video posted to the band’s website, Campbell spoke a little about his affection for the guitar. “I fell in love with the guitar when I was 15.  I still love the guitar as much as I did then. There are only six strings and 20 frets but there is a whole world of mystery and inspiration in this instrument,” Campbell said.


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Photo: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform at a benefit for KCSN radio at the Plaza Del Sol Performance Hall on the campus of Cal State Northridge on Oct. 29. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times