San Francisco rock band The Stone Foxes were in high spirits when the quintet took the stage Tuesday night at Sundown at Granada.
Driving into Dallas in their white van earlier that day, the rear suspension on their trailer busted and dragged behind them. The folks at Sundown jumped on the problem and called a mobile repairman who fixed it for them in triple-digit heat in the venue’s parking lot. It only cost them about $300.
The Stone Foxes formed in 2011 in the Sunset District of San Francisco. Keyboardist Elliott Peltzman and vocalist Shannon Koehler said their Dallas visit was a hopping show that lasted well into the night. It seemed like a good omen for the 21 tour dates left.
Then their van and trailer filled with $60,000 in gear was stolen from the La Quinta Inn in Garland early Wednesday morning.
“We’re trying to stay positive about it,” Peltzman says.
The car thief struck sometime between 1 and 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, when Koehler noticed the van and the trailer were gone.
“You know what it feels like when your heart sort of drops?” he says. “I walked around the entire hotel and thought, ‘Oh sweet lord in heaven, these guys better be going to get gas.'”
The band members were supposed to meet at 9:30 a.m. to head to their Wednesday night show at the Stickyz Chicken Shack in Little Rock. They met in the lobby of the La Quinta Inn about 15 minutes earlier. When Spence Koehler, Brian “The Buffalo” Bakalian, Vince Dewald and Ben Andrews joined the others, the reality of what had occurred in the middle of the night began to sink in.
“We were like, ‘Dude, it’s not here,’” Peltzman says.
Peltzman approached the front desk to inquire about the surveillance cameras in the parking lot.
“I don’t want to throw the La Quinta under the bus,” he says, “but they have cameras pointed everywhere in the parking lot, and they don’t record anything.”
About 30 minutes later, the band called the Garland police. Peltzman says a nice police officer showed up and told him that the van theft may be connected to a known car thief in the area.
Garland police spokesman Lt. Pedro Barineau says detectives don’t have any evidence of serial car theft, but four vehicles have been stolen from that La Quinta Inn this year.
Barineau says the department is collecting video evidence in the area and plans to watch local pawn shops to see if any of the band’s equipment appears.
Peltzman doesn’t believe the Garland police will solve find their equipment.
“All my closest friends are in bands,” he says. “This isn’t rare. It happens relatively often. The police don’t solve it.”
Musicians who stalk Craigslist do, he adds. Peltzman says that the band will watch Craigslist in the area where their equipment was stolen and wait for it to appear for sale.
“That’s the only way people know how to sell the equipment,” he says.
Koehler says among the equipment stolen were vintage guitars that can’t be easily replaced.
The guys spent most of the day brainstorming how to complete their tour. They thought about canceling some of the gigs, starting a GoFundMe page and maybe renting equipment for the next couple of weeks to play a few of the higher-paying shows. They don’t want to shortchange fans in places like Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina and New York. And they acknowledge that they need to play as many shows as possible.
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“It’s a devastating financial situation,” Peltzman says.
Instead of doing the show in Little Rock on Wednesday night, they planned on spending another night at the La Quinta Inn and rolling out of town Thursday.
“Maybe the thief will come back,” Koehler says. “[We’d tell him], ‘If you give us back the equipment, then no problems. Someone returns it. [We won’t] ask any questions. He can keep the trailer.”
Anyone with information about the crime should call Garland police at 972-485-4840 or Garland Crime Stoppers at 972-272-8477. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 in reward for information leading to an arrest.