The good folks behind Athens’ 40 Watt Club went through a full range of emotions during the past week. Late in the night on Thursday, July 27th, sometime after closing, the building was broken into and numerous pieces of PA gear were stolen, including amplifiers, direct input boxes and microphones.
Word of the theft spread rapidly via social media, and several musician friends of the club – including Jason Isbell, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and David Lowery of Cracker – offered thousands of dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). The Drive-By Truckers and Georgia Theatre lent the venue some gear to operate through the weekend.
Then on Wednesday, August 2nd, word came out that a suspect had been arrested, and nearly 80% of the stolen equipment had been recovered.
“In a situation that could have ended quite differently, we’d like to make a point of thanking the sharp-eyed Manager of the Greenville, S. Carolina Guitar Center, Shaun Williams, who spotted the gear,” 40 Watt owner Barrie Buck posted on the club’s Facebook page. “Shaun then contacted his friend, Zachary Thigpen, Manager of the Athens Guitar Center, who in turn called me Saturday morning. [Athens-Clarke County] Detective Paul Davidson then took the lead and resolved the mystery.”