Jonas Lewis-Anthony, lead singer of local rock band The Wilderness, was devastated when he lost his prized 2013 Gibson Hummingbird Pro acoustic guitar in the fall of 2017. On Friday, Jul. 5, 2019, Lewis-Anthony got a text from a friend that the guitar was found, and today he was able to claim it from the police station.
“Today is the best fucking day of my life,” said Lewis-Anthony. “It’s in terrible condition, and it’s going to need a lot of TLC, but it will be playable again soon.”
In mid-November 2017, Lewis-Anthony was loading gear into his apartment after coming from a show in Toronto. Although there appeared to be no one on the street, someone grabbed his guitar from his porch before the last load could be taken inside.
“I spent weeks putting up posters and going to pawn shops,” said Lewis-Anthony. “I had called every pawn shop between Ottawa and Toronto. I checked Kijiji and Craiglist every day for the first few weeks. I actually checked Kijiji again just a few days ago.”
Lewis-Anthony’s friend Thomas Draper works at The Hock Shop in Kingston, and had kept the stolen Gibson in the back of his mind since the theft.
“He texted me in all capital letters ‘I JUST FOUND YOUR GUITAR,’” said Lewis-Anthony. “This guy came in with the guitar to get a quote. As soon as Thomas said he knew that it was stolen, the guy ran off with the guitar down Bath Road. Police were called but they couldn’t find him. For some reason, the guy came back with the guitar a few hours later and tried to sell it again. He ran off again, but he left the guitar behind this time.”
Lewis-Anthony was on his way to Toronto for the weekend to visit his girlfriend when the text from Draper came in.
“I came home a day early on the bus because I just couldn’t wait any longer,” he explained. “I went straight to the police station. Someone decided to re-wire it and installed a jack right through the wood. It will need some work.”
The guitar is particularly meaningful to Lewis-Anthony as he used it to establish himself in the Kingston music scene, and as a Kingston resident.
“I moved with my dad from the UK to Virginia when I was 19,” said Lewis-Anthony. “I wasn’t able to work there due to the status of my visa, but I was pretty bored so I volunteered with the maintenance crew at the college that my dad worked at. When I told them all I was going to move to Canada, the guys took me to the Guitar Centre and told me I could pick out something for myself. I played 100s of gigs on it. I went busking with that guitar to make enough for first and last on my first apartment.”
The guitar can be next be heard live in Kingston on Thursday, Aug. 1, when The Wilderness play at Pan Chancho.
As of press time, the suspected thief is still at large. More to come.