As Southern California awoke to the wreckage from a recent massive windstorm, music teacher Ruben Gonzalez Jr. was assessing a different sort of devastation in his band room at South Gate High School.Strange. Keep an eye on your tubas, band directors.
Thieves had pried open a door and torn the room apart while hunting for a specific instrument. "All they took were tubas," Gonzalez said. Losses included an upright concert tuba and a silver sousaphone — or marching-band tuba — worth a combined $13,000.
Several weeks earlier, band members at Centennial High School in Compton experienced a similar shock when they found that eight sousaphones were missing.
And on Tuesday, burglars broke into Huntington Park High School and spirited away the school's last tuba, according to band instructor Fernando Almader. A silver Jupiter tuba had been stolen earlier in the school year.
Those are just the latest in what police and music instructors are describing as a rash of unsolved tuba thefts at high schools in southeast Los Angeles County. The thefts, according to band leaders, were probably spurred by Southern California's banda music craze, as well as the high prices the brass instruments fetch on the black market. A high-quality tuba can cost well more than $5,000, but even an old, dented tuba can sell for as much as $2,000, music teachers say.
Monday, December 12, 2011
There's a weird new trend in high school thefts:
Posted by Rick Moore on 12/12/2011