Chuck Berry gets stolen guitar back
Victim: Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry has been reunited with a priceless guitar that was stolen during three raids on home by burglars.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the thefts in St Louis, Missouri, after they broke into the 85-year-old’s property after cops swooped.
In the first raid last week, they made off with a 1978 Gibson ES-355 from Berry’s personal office. Its value is uncertain, but a similar model with no big-name connections recently sold on eBay for $4500.
The thieves returned the following night and stole gardening equipment while also damaging the fence to Berry’s property. Later that week he played his usual monthly gig in the Blueberry Hill venue in St Louis, and didn’t mention the raids to anyone.
Finally the three made another attempt, but were spotted by a neighbour who called the police. Officers later found the guitar in one of the suspect’s homes.
Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards tells Fox 2: “Chuck has always been the consummate performer and the show must go on. He won’t let anything get in the way of going out and giving the audience everything he can give – so that’s why he kept mum, I think.”
Berry has had his own brushes with the law. In 1962 he served a jail sentence after being found guilty of transporting a minor across state lines in breach of controversial white slavery laws. In 1979 he was behind bars again for tax evasion offences.
In the late 1980s he faced a class action suit from 59 women who alleged he’d installed a camera in the toilets of his restaurant. The settlement is believed to have cost him over $1.2m. Later he pled guilty to misdemeanour charges of drug possession.
In 2000 his former piano player Johnnie Johnson claimed he’d co-written over 50 of Berry’s songs. The case was dismissed.
He was among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when it opened in 1986. Earlier this year he won the first-ever Pen Awards for songwriting at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston.