A historic collection of musical instruments and gear formerly used by late-20th century music icons Eddie Van Halen and Prince has reportedly been stolen out of a Nashville, Tennessee, storage unit.
Former Van Halen and Cheap Trick guitar tech Zeke Clark told The Tennessean that thieves stole at least $50,000 in equipment and tour memorabilia. Among the stolen gear are “vintage Fender and TopHat amplifiers, custom Marshall guitar cabinets, Ampeg bass cabinets [and] collectable Sears Silvertone instruments.”
Clark visited the storage unit in October and then returned on December 3 to find his lock had been removed and replaced with a new lock. He said he had to use bolt cutters to get back into the locker.
“When I opened the door my heart just sank,” he said, before adding he was “sick to [his] stomach” over the heist.
The Marshall cabinets were used by Van Halen on the band’s ‘5150’ and ‘Monsters of Rock’ tours in the ’80s, Clark explained. The same cabinets were later used by Prince in the ’90s.
Clark is still compiling a full list of missing gear. The Metro Nashville Police Department is investigating.
In a legitimate sale, the gear with ties to Van Halen and Prince could have sold for a king’s ransom. A pair of guitars once owned by Van Halen but never used in concert or in the studio recently sold at auction for $140,800 and $231,250, respectively.
While Van Halen gave many guitars away to friends over the years, his personal collection of gear will probably wind up in a museum one day, according to his son Wolfgang.