Some models of electric guitars can be worth thousands of dollars. Whether her dad’s guitars are at the high or low end of the value scale, all seven of them are priceless to amateur musician Brandie Radtke of Red Deer, who fears she has lost them for good.
Her husband, Jason, inherited the collection when her dad, Norman Derasp, died of a heart attack last August at the age of 53.
She’s now enlisting the help of police, potential witnesses, pawn shops and music stores to help relocate the guitars, which were stolen from her and Jason’s garage during the long weekend.
Radtke took their baby on Monday morning to visit her grandmother, returning home at about 8 p.m. to discover that the remote-controlled door on her double garage had been left open.
All seven guitars were gone, including two Fender Stratocasters and one Telecaster, along with an assortment of others. A small generator had also been removed, but the drum set was still there, as was an array of sporting equipment and carpentry tools.
Radtke said the discovery left her “devastated,” renewing the grief she felt when her father died and leaving her feeling as if she had lost a piece of him along with his guitars.
It was almost as if the thief knew what was in the garage and had waited for an opportunity to take them away, said Radtke.
The Derasp and Radtke families shared a long-standing tradition of getting together to play music, meeting at least once and sometimes twice a week in Jason and Brandie’s garage, which faces the alley off of Duvall Crescent.
The guitars had been kept in the basement, but were moved to the garage because the basement flooded.
Radtke said she feels extremely lucky to have married a man whose love for and taste in music was very close to her dad’s.
Red Deer guitar builder David Gilmore said Fender Stratocasters can range widely in value from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars. Most people who have the collectible models are well aware of their value and have them insured and tightly secured. They still play them but take extra efforts to keep the locked up the rest of the time.
Awareness of the value of collectible guitars has increased in step with reality shows such as Pawn Stars and Antiques Roadshow, in which guests and experts reveal rare discoveries, including collectible Fender and Gibson guitars, said Gilmore.
Police officers investigating the break-in noted footprints in the snow, but said they weren’t good enough to use in tracking the thief, nor did they take fingerprints from inside the garage, said Radtke.
She and other members of her family have created a set of posters now being distributed to guitar stores and pawn shops. They ask that anyone who might have information about the theft get in touch with Red Deer City RCMP at 403-343-5575.
To remain anonymous, submit information online to www.tipsubmit.com or call Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-8477.