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California

Video shows woman stealing two $10,000 vintage guitars from O.C. store

A woman posing as a customer distracted an employee at an Orange County music shop while another woman stole two guitars worth almost $10,000 each, according to Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.

An Orange County music shop is hoping video it shared on social media will help police recover two stolen vintage guitars and find the two women they say orchestrated the thefts over the weekend.

An employee at Imperial Vintage Guitar at 864 N. Main St. in Orange said a woman posing as a customer distracted him Saturday while another woman stole two guitars worth almost $10,000 each, according to Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.

A woman came into the store asking for help finding a guitar for her boyfriend, McMullin said. While the store clerk was showing her around the shop’s upper floor, another woman lifted two guitars from pegs on the wall and ran outside with them, according to police.

The employee saw the woman, who is shown on video wearing a pink tank top and bluejeans, run out of the shop with a guitar in each hand, McMullin said. The clerk ran down the stairs and chased after her.

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The store posted surveillance video in hopes the public can help identify the two women and retrieve the stolen guitars — a red 1955 Gretsch Firebird and a 1968 Gibson Johnny Smith.

In an interview with KCBS-TV, store owner Shai Ashkenazi said his employee chased the thief and jumped on top of the car she got in. He said he thinks three people were involved in the theft: the woman who distracted his employee, the woman who stole the guitars and a getaway driver.

“She took him to another side of the store away from the first girl that came in, and the first girl took the advantage and grabbed two of my most expensive guitars … and bolted out,” Ashkenazi said.

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The business said on its Instagram page that the woman who stole the guitars visited the shop a few days earlier. In surveillance video from that day, the woman can be heard saying, “I want to ask you about this one,” as an employee shows her around the store. At one point, she sits on a stool to play a guitar.

McMullin said the investigation is continuing.

alejandra.reyesvelarde@latimes.com

Twitter: @r_valejandra


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