A young rock band said they were “excited and relieved” that they were reunited with the stolen gear after seeing it for sale online.
Noisy, a trio from Worthing who supported Yungblud and You Me At Six, got £ 25,000 worth of kits stolen from a van in Walthamstow in early September.
But after locating a few items on an online auction site, they were able to locate and retrieve them all.
The band joked with their fans that the story could be made into a movie.
Noisy is formed by singer Cody Matthews, guitarist and keyboardist Connor Cheetham and producer and guitarist Spencer Tobias-Williams.
The trio has yet to release an album but has reached several million streams and built a fan following on the live music circuit, with a sound reminiscent of bands like The Prodigy that blends rock, dance and hip-hop.
“Our van was stolen”
The theft occurred in early September, shortly after Noisy had played at the All Points East festival in London. The band were supposed to have a day off after their performance before going on tour as a support group for rock band You Me At Six.
“We left the van parked outside our tour manager’s house in Walthamstow,” Connor explains. “We got a call from our manager at around 7am saying, ‘You won’t believe it, but our van has been stolen.'”
The van, which had been rented, was picked up sometime between midnight and 7am.
“We were all speechless,” continues Spencer. “We couldn’t believe it, it’s the worst news to hear. I think in the last few months we’ve realized how important it is to play live for us as a band. So that’s double the amount of gutted.”
Almost immediately, the band posted photos of their stolen kit on Instagram in the hope that the public can help them recover it.
They also informed the Metropolitan Police, who independently confirmed to BBC News that they had received the report.
They recall how, while they waited for updates, there were “so many people out there who were willing to help” – including other musicians who loaned them the equipment so that Noisy could fulfill their support slots later on the You Me tour. At Six.
However, at the end of the tour, a friend of the band sent a message to Spencer to say that he thought he had spotted their gear on an online auction site. Spencer says he clicked on the link and recognized his guitar and one of the band’s amps. The BBC viewed the original listing on the auction site.
“With this kind of thing, time is of the essence and we had to try to catch it up as soon as possible,” he explains. “So I decided to create an account with a fake name, nothing that can be linked back to us.
“I texted the guy saying, ‘Hey man, would you take this amount of money for this?’ – because at this point I was willing to pay for it myself because it meant a lot to me, this guitar in particular. “
The seller sent another picture of the guitar and in this the band could see even more of his gear in the background.
A few days later, Spencer and some friends met the seller in an outdoor public setting and bought the guitar back without revealing themselves as the original owners.
What do the police advise?
At this point in the story we should pause to say that while the band’s meeting with the vendor went smoothly, it is important to note that the police advise against the public taking this approach.
Meeting someone you know is in possession of stolen goods could present a dangerous and unpredictable situation.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told BBC News: “Information provided by people who find stolen items advertised for sale online is extremely helpful in supporting police investigations. However, victims of crime are advised to speak to police officers. rather than meeting with those who have listed properties for sale. “
They added: “In relation to stolen vehicles, especially those with keyless access systems, the use of a steering lock is recommended.”
After reuniting with his guitar and getting the seller’s size, Spencer sent him another message to ask if he had any other musical equipment for sale. The seller has returned photos of other guitars and amps that the group has recognized as their own. “We were like, ‘He’s got it all,'” Spencer recalls.
Connor and Spencer made arrangements to buy the rest of the kit and go to the seller’s house to pick it up. A drummer who played with the band also came to this meeting, bringing a friend of his who worked as a security guard.
“We thought, ‘We’re about to go in, we’re not going to pay the money or anything, we’re just going to get it back,'” Spencer says.
After initially speaking with the salesman, the band arrived clean. “The drummer and the security guy said, ‘Look man, all this stuff was stolen, it doesn’t belong to you, we got receipts for everything, we know you have it in your house so we’re coming right now. To get it, or we’ll get the police involved, so what do you want to do? ‘”Spencer recalls.
“The guy was very apologetic, said he didn’t realize it was stolen and said he wanted to help us get it back because he understood this is our livelihood. He said he bought it from someone else for kind. £ 3,000 as a bulk purchase. “
The group offered to cover the costs of what the seller had paid the thieves. “We made them break even, so it was a friendly end,” confirms Spencer. He had already spent £ 2,200 on the guitar, so the band paid an additional £ 600 to cover the £ 2,800 the seller said he paid.
Wasn’t the band mad at this point, we ask? Not only have they now paid for the kit twice, but the thieves are still out there and can do it again. Weren’t you tempted to ask the vendor for more information on the thieves to turn over to the police?
“He told us where he bought the stuff, but at this point we just wanted to get the equipment and leave,” Connor says.
“Of course justice would have been great, but we just wanted to tour and we just wanted the equipment, so when that was happening we were like, ‘OK, dude, we’re happy now.’
“There is [anger], but I think that feeling was somehow overcome by ‘Oh my God, we made it,’ “he concludes.
The band admits they felt anxious about meeting the seller. “I was probably slightly worried a couple of days ago,” Spencer says.
“The fear of the unknown was pretty scary, but we knew in our heads that we were going to just go there to get the gear, if something was inaccurate we would be right away,” adds Connor.
Noisy are now advising other bands to think of practical measures that could prevent the same thing from happening to them, such as always parking a van with its back against the wall and taking the kit with them to hotels when in doubt.
Reflecting on what happened, Spencer says, “It’s a mix of emotions, it’s definitely a great relief, it’s like a bad dream you woke up from. We are so excited to play our songs on tour again.”
There is one member of the group, however, who missed all the drama.
“I wasn’t even there for the sting, I was absolutely gutted,” Cody complains. “Oddly, I was in Alton Towers on vacation, texting the kids, worried to death. But they destroyed it, man, they couldn’t have asked for it to be really better. I was so worried, none of us knew who this guy really was and I just wanted everyone to be safe. “
Noisy’s new single will premiere on BBC Radio 1’s Future Sounds with Jack Saunders on Wednesday from 8pm BST.
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