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Note of Theft
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Joined: Nov. 18 2010
Note of Theft
"Dear fellow guitarists,
I would like to notify everyone here that if you ever come across a Gary
Hearn guitar -Hauser copy- with African rosewood and cedar top, that this
guitar belongs to me and that it was stolen. The name of the maker is
clearly written inside the guitar "Gary Hearn 2011", but the thief might
have removed it. There is no number on the label because as Hearn said "this
guitar was unique, a one off copy" so probably no number was given to it. If
any of you know anything about this guitar, or you ever come across it, both
the police and I should be notified.
(If you Google, or YouTube my name you'll see both my website and contact
Here is my story of how this theft came to pass, and I hope that the "Acoustic Guitar " forum will support me in this my attempt to make readers and guitarists worldwide more aware of what is going on today in the marketplace, and to also to name and shame the crooks who have been implicated in this deceit. After all it is highly probable that in the future you will come across these guys yourselves! They are none other than the owner, (Jon Baldachin), the manager (Andrew Preston) and Steven Patterson, an employee or associate of the shop "Spanish guitar centre", or "London guitar centre" as you may know it. (I'll refer to it as SGC or LGC
from now on).
Incidentally, right now the shop has been closed and the scammers are trying
for dissolution of the company. All the guitar stock has been hidden by them
somewhere and they hope once they liquidate the company to start trading
again with their old stock and possibly even at the same premises!
What a sad, sad ending for the once famous and popular guitar centre started
by Len Williams the father of John Williams! What a disgrace! This should
never have happened but it did.
My story goes as follows:
About a year ago, around Xmas time 2011, I was visiting London and decided
to pop in the Spanish guitar centre to check on their stock of good quality
instruments. I started playing this Gary Hearn Hauser copy and was
immediately very impressed by its sound. It was expensive though, with a
price tag of £6,000. But I had an idea of trading in my good Richard Howell
guitar for this one and also paying the difference in cash. This is a
standard practice which I have used many times in the past. So I haggled
with S. Patterson right there and then, and we finally agreed on a figure of
£1,500 plus my 'Richard Howell' classical guitar as part exchange.
Since my guitar was in Greece it was agreed that after payment I would first
post him my own guitar and that then he would send me my Gary Hearn guitar.
I (unfortunately) trusted the shop because I had bought many guitars from
them in the past and had even worked there for a spell as a guitar teacher.
The very next day, I wired £1500 electronically into an account I was given,
in the name of S. Patterson. (It never occurred to me to query why the name
of this account was not that of the SGC or LGC. But since the deal had been
concluded on their premises I felt it was OK to proceed. On hindsight, I
suspect that they probably wanted to avoid paying VAT)
As soon as I arrived in Athens, on the first days of January, I shipped my
own Howell guitar to the London-Spanish- guitar centre. Unfortunately, the
UK will not accept insured parcels over £600, so my guitar was shipped
without insurance, but by recorded delivery, a tracking number, and in a
hard case externally protected by bubble wrap.
One week later I received an email from Patterson, informing me that my
guitar had arrived damaged.
He included a picture in the email which showed the bottom of my guitar with
a hole in it.
Apparently even though the hard case and the bubble wrap were completely
undamaged, the guitar had been broken inside. The courier who delivered the
parcel did not mention anything about the parcel having been damaged in any
way, as is their custom. Patterson explained to me later, over the phone,
that the parcel had not been opened by anyone in the shop in front of the
parcel force courier to verify that the item was indeed intact, and there
was no note included by "parcel force" to say that the guitar had been
damaged in any way while in transit. Because of such negligence it was then
not possible to then claim anything from the postal service. I now strongly
suspect my Howell guitar was smashed on purpose, by allowing it to fall onto
to a hard floor, in order to then get more money out of me)
I rang Patterson, very upset of course, and as a show of good will asked him
how much more would he want for the new guitar, to conclude this deal. He
asked for £1500 pounds more and on the very same day, I wired him the
additional funds electronically. So, for this £6,000 guitar , I had traded
in my own Richard Howell (damaged) guitar, and also paid in cash an
additional £3000 in total, in two lots of payments of £1,500 pounds each
time, wired electronically.
I waited for my new guitar to arrive, and after one week had passed I
emailed Mr. Patterson asking for the tracking number of the guitar.
From now on my story will begin to sound like some nightmare out of a
science fiction novel.
I received this incredible email from the shop manager, Andrew Preston with
"Hi Byron - Patterson had packed the guitar he sold you and left it for
Unfortunately he was not here on the day after packing, and the box was
wrongly assumed to have rubbish in it because of the packing all around the
case inside and no outside marking, and it got put out and collected by
Westminster Council; we are now dealing with them to try to get the package
If this fails, you will have to be refunded and the deal you did with Steve
We are still working on the repair of your Howell guitar which you sent and
got damaged in transit.
All in all not a very successful transaction so far I'm afraid.
Our apologies for this situation on behalf of ourselves and Steve, and I
will keep you posted on progress this end."
I can't describe the shock and horror I felt when I received this email. It
was the most unbelievable story I had ever heard!
I pointed out that a contract had already been made and paid for, that I had
already paid for the new Gary Hearn guitar and that I did not wish to cancel
the deal. The London-Spanish guitar centre was fully responsible for the
loss of this my new guitar and that they should either refund me the full
value of the guitar , or pay the guitar maker Gary Hearn immediately to make
me an identical new guitar.
The manager then said that the owner of the shop, Jon Baldachin, would
contact me but, he would not give me his phone number so that I could
contact him directly. In fact the owner did not contact me at all.
Eventually searching all over the internet I found his
phone number and I contacted him instead. I asked him to honor the contract.
He replied stating that they would replace the instrument with an exact copy
by G. Hearn, once the insurance money was paid to them. I waited and waited.
It was difficult to do anything else since I currently live and work in
Gary Hearn indeed was contacted by the LGC and bought all the materials
needed and sent the shop an invoice for the initial down payment, as is
customary, and so we both waited and waited for the shop to pay up so that
Gary could start building my guitar. After all they already had my own money
in cash in their account. I rang the shop numerous times and all I got was
conflicting stories and promises such as: the money had been paid into the
guitar maker's account, the cheque had bounced because there was a problem
with the overdraft facility, they were waiting for the insurance claim to be
accepted. etc etc
I rang Baldachin and pointed out to him that he already had my £3,000 and
that he should pay Gary Hearn immediately so that he can begin on my new
guitar and that I shouldn't have to wait for the outcome of his insurance
claim at all. Whether the insurance would pay him or not was not my problem
at all but his! He avoided the issue, tried to shirk responsibility by
saying that I should speak to the shop manager instead. When I pressed him,
because all the stories were inconsistent, i.e. one said the insurance will
pay, the other said that they were going to pay the maker directly but their
bank overdraft facility was the problem, John Baldachin hung up on me!
Gary Hearn bought the materials for the new guitar out of his own pocket but
was never paid anything!
In April I received an email from Baldachin saying that the insurance money
had finally sent them a cheque and that Gary would get paid and so I would
have my guitar. It was all lies, and more deceitful behaviour. Again no
money was paid to G. Hearn, so I rang Baldachin but once again he hung up on
So I finally decided that enough is enough and so I took the Spanish-
London- guitar centre to court, through "money claim on line". They had
taken my £3,000 cash, my Howell guitar, they had been refunded by their
insurance company and still they didn't pay me or replace the lost (stolen)
In fact they didn't care. What I didn't know at the time was that they were
Within a short period I got a judgment (CCJ) against them. I then contacted
a firm of bailiffs (The Sheriffs Office) to get my money back. They dragged
their feet. (Unfortunately they are an incompetent team of amateurs, and I
suspect that they might have even been paid off), and by the time they tried
to enter the premises of the SGC the shop had closed. The SGC was bankrupt.
Apparently, as the bailiffs said, another team of bailiffs had already
entered the premises before them, but had found nothing there!
So obviously all the stock of the LGC has been hidden somewhere and these
crooks hope to resell it in their new shop and company sometime in the
future after the present company is dissolved. Myself and others as
creditors have stopped this dissolution from going ahead until June. If you
know anything about where the stock is or any helpful information please get
in touch with me.
I hope this story serves as a warning to all of you fellow guitarists, and I
hope that if someone hears anything about my Gary Hearn guitar that you'll
be kind enough to contact me.
Thanks for your time
REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |
Date Jan. 19 2013 16:58:42
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland
RE: Note of Theft (in reply to Ruphus)
Wow .. this is quite some post , and some story ... it seems to me that you are a very quiet kind of guy .. dont rock the boat and we will sort you out , kind of guy ...which is possibly to your detriment in this case ..
some phrases is particular get to me ... like ...from the letter you quoted ....
'''Unfortunately he was not here on the day after packing, and the box was
wrongly assumed to have rubbish''
and that is my problem because ??/?...no its not my problem ...
''if this fails, you will have to be refunded and the deal you did with Steve
..if this fails , i am already in contact with consumer advisers , and a solicitor will be sending you a letter very soon .
the big one .. although now it is too late is the threat of public expose .. take the whole thing to the local or national press ' they love this kind of thing ' if you can get it in the telly ....thats good leverage .. even if its old news you can still get something just by the threat alone ...so long as its real ....
I know there was a liquidation thing happening but by law , and you can still use this , if they really went bust and you cannot claim even through their own insurance , then that named person is not allowed to trade ... under any name for a specified number of years ...
I suppose i get a lot of this cos my wife worked in consumer advice.. and she knows what threats can work or not .....
and having , who said what .. all down on paper is a good thing...really .....
Don't trust Atoms.....they make up everything.
REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |
Date Jan. 20 2013 1:15:50
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA
RE: Note of Theft (in reply to Doitsujin)
An RFID tag could easily be built into a new guitar, or installed in an old guitar without compromising the sound, structure or appearance. These tags come in a variety of forms - one is a small capsule about the size of a grain of rice, which is commonly implanted in pets. If built into the guitar, (say on the neck underneath the fingerboard, or in the heel) it couldn't be removed without major work, and wouldn't be visible.
Reputable dealers would then be able to wirelessly scan the guitar for identification. RFID readers are inexpensive, and the tags themselves are only a few cents each.
RFID is passive. It requires no power, and it does not send out a signal - you have to scan the guitar to detect it and read out any information stored on the tag (like the owner's name and contact information).You wouldn't be able to geolocate a missing guitar, but it might make it pretty hard to resell an expensive instrument if this became an accepted practice.
It would also serve as a good way of authenticating older instruments, since the maker or an expert authenticator could digitally sign the data on the RFID (this is done on passports, for instance), which prevents forging the tag or altering its contents.
The biggest challenge might be to convince luthiers to incorporate this bit of technology into their beautiful hand made instruments.
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Date Jan. 20 2013 4:52:07
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC
RE: Note of Theft (in reply to Ruphus)
You would reward the luthier in the first place eventhough the man has only spent for materials, and which he will foresseingly have used up in his shop anyway.
That doesn't change the fact he was the ORIGINAL owner that did not get paid in the first place. The second party deserves to sue for the $3000 funds plus reclaim his original instrument, suing for additional damages assumed caused by company. (with burden of proof). Next, the 3rd party in actual possession of the Luthier's guitar, yes loses it and must sue the company also.
After that, the luthier, who wanted to sell the guitar anyway to the second party can then send to him with no middle man, in exchange for cost of materials...if that be the true price Luthier needed, which I also find suspect. (never heard of luthier charging only cost of material for a handcrafted master guitar). Unless I have read the story wrong, luthier would be the FIRST victim of the scam, expecting to be paid for his instrument, the middle man company supposedly taking a "cut" or percentage of the full price for finding a buyer.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how much anyone sues the company for, could be the guitar sold already several times, totaling $50,000 plus lawyer fees or private investigation etc ... because the company bankrupted legally (I assume they didn't literally disappear without filing), NO BODY GETS ANY $. So WHO gets the guitar when found? I can't see why it would not be the original owner/builder who never was paid in the first place. Would be ethical for him to make a deal with one of the poor guys that lost money since he doesn't actually want to keep the guitar.
CD's and transcriptions available here:
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Date Jan. 21 2013 8:04:46
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