Social media helps track down valuable stolen guitar

ARARAT - The power of social media was on display this week following the theft of a $25,000 guitar from Sky Music in Clayton.

It took store manager and former Ararat Advertiser journalist, Henry Dalkin, just 32 hours to get his prized instrument back with the help of a widely-shared post on Facebook.

The limited-edition Gibson Les Paul 50th Anniversary of Marshall Amplifiers commemorative model was calmly carried out the door during Sunday afternoon trading by an individual who remarkably removed the guitar from its hanger 16 feet high before placing it in a case and strolling away with his valuable loot.

When he realised the guitar was missing Mr Dalkin reviewed CCTV footage and decided to share an image online of a person he believed would be able to shed light on the guitar's fate.

Within hours the Sky Music Facebook page was inundated with messages of support as over 1000 people shared the post on their own walls and soon over 200,000 people had viewed the post.

Mr Dalkin said the swell of support from the Facebook community was overwhelming.

"I was genuinely surprised just how much attention we had over the missing guitar," he said.

"We were pleased with the support, we're really grateful people wanted to help out by sharing our post."

It wasn't long before the story grabbed the attention of media outlets and Mr Dalkin found himself discussing the missing guitar on ABC 774's morning program with Jon Faine on Monday.

By midday Monday several community members had reached out to Sky Music with information and it wasn't long before Mr Dalkin knew he had the information he needed.

"The person I wanted to talk with had bought things from us before, I was sure we had his details in our system.

"I just needed a name to look him up."

Mr Dalkin had discussed the case with police, who upon reviewing all Sky Music's evidence had started the process of obtaining a search warrant for the prime suspect's residence.

But fearing the rare collectible guitar would likely have already been moved on Mr Dalkin decided to reach out to the man identified from his Facebook post for help.

"We exchanged some messages and phone calls and after some persuasion he was happy to help me out," said Mr Dalkin.

"Within a few hours the guitar was dropped off out the front of Sky Music and the saga came to an end."

Mr Dalkin said his hunch the guitar would no longer be in the thief's hands turned out to be correct and the man from his Facebook post had played a vital role in recovering the guitar.

He said while the thief may eventually have been arrested, it was unlikely he would have ever seen the guitar again.

"My only real concern was getting my guitar back," he said.

"Despite some reluctance to work with me at first, the man I tracked down via Facebook eventually stepped up and made sure I got my guitar back in one piece.

"He was very helpful and I think was just as relieved as I was to see the guitar make its way back to Sky Music."

Mr Dalkin said whoever ends up buying the guitar will appreciate the story that now comes with it.

"I think it's brilliant, an epic story to go with an amazing guitar."

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