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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

German-American fest band retrieves equipment after theft

Tip leads police to East Toledo home, stolen instruments

Oregon Det. Ryan Spangler, left, and Tony Aringer load equipment into a van. The Euro Express Band had its equipment stolen Aug. 25. Oregon Det. Ryan Spangler, left, and Tony Aringer load equipment into a van. The Euro Express Band had its equipment stolen Aug. 25.
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Dun dun dun.

An East Toledo man must face the music after a sound tip helped police locate a Chicago band’s stolen instruments at his residence.

A warrant was filed Wednesday in Oregon Municipal Court against Jason Cook, 43, of East Toledo. He’s sought on three first-degree misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property after authorities located nearly $14,000 worth of instruments and gear at his residence at 447 Nevada St.

Oregon police said the musical stash was taken from a U-Haul trailer parked at the Comfort Inn, 2930 Navarre Ave. in Oregon. Members of the Chicago-based Euro Express Band stayed there after playing at the German-American Festival.

The band awoke Aug. 25 to find the trailer nearly empty.

“I walked around, saw the door open of the trailer, and I just stood there dumbfounded,” drummer John Gunther said.

Anguish turned to elation several days later when Oregon police Det. Sgt. Kelly Thibert received an anonymous tip that led authorities to a house where she watched as some of the equipment was moved from a pickup truck and into the residence. Mr. Cook also had unrelated, outstanding warrants filed against him.

Police recovered an accordion, drum, guitar, amplifiers, mixing board, and other gear. An amplifier and some music and lyric books are still missing.

“All of the equipment that we recovered was the same way that it was left by the owner,” said Sergeant Thibert.

The news thrilled Mr. Gunther and his bandmates, who were forced to borrow gear and use backup equipment when they played recently in Milwaukee. Mr. Gunther, an estimator for a moving company, took off work Wednesday so that he could pick up the stolen items from the Oregon police station.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. This is like … one of those Cinderella stories. Disney should come and make a movie,” he said after he and detectives loaded up the gear for the trip back to Chicago.

Police continue to search for Mr. Cook, who was not home when authorities tried to apprehend him. He faces one count for each of the three band members who were theft victims. Authorities said other people may also have been involved.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065, or on Twitter @vanmccray.

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