Northampton man's stolen guitar returned to him after 80,000 shared video of thief

Michael Kinder's Epiphone Riviera, pictured right, was stolen after an open mic night in Northampton - but a shared Facebook post of the man who took it, left, was shared 80.000 times.
Michael Kinder's Epiphone Riviera, pictured right, was stolen after an open mic night in Northampton - but a shared Facebook post of the man who took it, left, was shared 80.000 times.

A festival organiser whose prized guitar was stolen says he is thrilled to have it back after more than 80,000 shared a CCTV Facebook post.

Wootton man Michael Kinder was thrilled to see his Garden Open Mike Festival at the Black Prince in Abington Square well attended on Saturday, August 5.

More than 100 people enjoyed acoustic acts in the pub gardens over the day, with many of the open mic artists using Michael's own limited edition 1995 Epiphone Riviera - the guitar he was given for his 21st birthday.

Sadly, with much of the music equipment left in the pub grounds overnight - a passing thief snuck in and stole the guitar at around 5am the next morning.

But following a remarkable response on social media - Michael's beloved instrument is now back in his possession.

After learning the guitar had been stolen - he posted the pub's CCTV of the thief walking away with it in a case on Facebook.

"If you are the guy and end up seeing this, please just hand it back to the Black Prince no questions asked. It was my 21st birthday present," wrote Michael on August 6.

The post was shared 694 times and seen by more than 80,000 people in a matter of days.

It meant that when a man went in to try and sell the guitar at Professional Music Technology (PMT) in Bridge Street on Monday, August 13, staff there recognised the distinctive instrument instantly.

They alerted cash converter stores in the town and within hours a man walked into Exchange 4 Cash in Gold Street - carrying the 1995 Epiphone.

Thankfully, staff there had the foresight to hold onto the guitar while the police arrived.

A force spokeswoman has confirmed a 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Now reunited with the guitar, Michael says he is thrilled at the response from the musical community, who helped to see it returned.

"It is absolutely amazing," he said. "You know for a day there I felt really hard done by.

"I spent a long time trying to plan this festival for the community, I had spent my own money on it.

"I just thought it's not worth organising this sort of thing anymore. But that reception showed me that it's just such a small percentage that ruin these things.

"The community is so strong - there was 80,000 people out there hoping to bring this guy to justice."