The people of Chilliwack rallied around musician Trevor McDonald in a big way after his guitar was stolen.
Now the well-used Stratocaster in an old black case is back in the hands of Chilliwack’s hardest working musician.
An emotional McDonald told The Progress he could not be more thrilled.
“It’s unbelievable!” McDonald said triumphantly. “People went above and beyond. This is the Chilliwack I am always bragging about.”
The whole drama came to a screeching halt in a store parking lot on Yale road, with RCMP officers from D Watch and Dog Services, some time after 7 a.m. Thursday morning.
One of the people following the stolen guitar saga was Coun. Jason Lum.
He was motoring down Yale Road Thursday morning near the Rona when he spotted something familiar in the parking lot.
It was the stolen guitar case.
A fatigued McDonald had left it behind on the Lakeside Beach Club patio when he packed up Wednesday night. When he realized it, he just about lost it.
McDonald posted it furiously on social media and asked everyone to share the post and help him get it back. The well-worn case not only contained his prized guitar, and wireless mic setup that fuels his one-man-band career, but also about $400 cash for the food-strapped Salvation Army.
“I am absolutely destroyed right now,” McDonald said. “I’m hoping somebody will help me out here.”
And so they did.
Early Wednesday the first evidence of the stolen guitar was posted on social media with a photo of the stuff spread out on the sidewalk. The good citizen had scoped out some suspicious activity nearby, posted the pic and asked everyone if any of the likely stolen items looked familiar.
“Luckily I was tipped off,” McDonald recalls. He raced down to that site, managed to secure some video footage of the street, and post images of a suspect who he believed had his guitar at that point.
From there, there were posts all day of various people tracking the alleged thieves on wheels, and snapping pics.
“Within 30 seconds of posting the video, I had a thousand people giving me tips,” McDonald said.
Then Thursday, the RCMP had already received 11 reports of the guitar being dragged all over downtown when Lum called it in. McDonald was tipped off and was already en route to the scene.
The RCMP from the D Watch and dog services responded with lightening fast speed.
“This shows why people should always phone it in, and then stand back and let the police do their jobs,” Lum said.
Lum gave full credit goes to the cops, and the many in the community who were looking out for Trevor’s blue Fender Stratocaster guitar.
“I think we need good news stories like this,” he said.
It’s a reminder to always call in suspicious activity to RCMP.
“Despite the sentiment often spread on social media, our local RCMP work extremely hard on your behalf,” Lum said. “Nice work, Chilliwack.”
For McDonald it was the first time he saw “instant Karma” at work.
Even the stolen cash he had collected in the guitar case for the Salvation Army has now been replaced by a Chilliwack business owner.
“The thing is is these guys who stole the guitar, actually use the food bank,” McDonald said.
But he was adamant all throughout that he didn’t want any vigilante action or retaliatory violence of any kind.
“In the end we can replace the money, we can replace the guitar. I just didn’t want anyone getting hurt,” he said.
So when all the tips, photos and video from the public subsequently led to police taking a suspect into custody, and the guitar recovered, it was all over, and the local musician is completely blown away.
“I was just floored to the point of tears for all the support,” McDonald said.
He figures more than a thousand people helped in some way.
“I never felt more loved. The city really stepped up.”