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Three guitars, valued in the thousands of dollars, pictured above, were stolen from Bear Hollow Vintage Guitars on Wednesday. (COURTESY)

Thieves steal $15,000 of guitars from Lebanon store

LEBANON - Three guitars worth more than $15,000 were stolen in a burglary of Bear Hollow Vintage Guitars on Miracle Mile early Wednesday morning.

'Three in the morning, it's not he news you want,' said store owner Sally Laurent.

Police Det. Richard Norris said it appears the burglar or burglars gained access to the store by crashing a vehicle into the building and entering through a broken window around 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

Police released photos of the three guitars - a Gibson Les Paul 'Slash' Appetite for Destruction, a ruby red Gibson Lucille BB King, and a National 'Studio 66,' 1962 - so the public is familiar with the stolen instruments.

'We're looking for suspects and hoping that somebody can identify the guitars if they see them,' Norris said.

Bear Hollow Vintage Guitars is owned by husband and wife Neil and Sally Laurent, who moved to the area from New Jersey and started the business in 2008.

The Gibson Les Paul 'Slash' Appetite for Destruction is the most valuable of the three guitars, said Sally Laurent.

It was a limited edition with only 300 made.

'Its replacement value is actually now at $9,000,' Laurent said.

The Gibson Lucille BB King model called the Lucille was worth somewhere between $4,800 and $5,700, she said.

Both guitars were in the store on consignment. The store's insurance should be able to reimburse the owners, she said.

The third guitar is worth $1,500, was store owned and is very rare.

'The last one was actually a vintage guitar from the 1960s,' Laurent said.

The taking of this particular guitar leads Laurent to believe the burglars know a lot about vintage guitars. 'It's a guitar that you would normally not know or be interested in. Somebody in the know would have had to pick that one up.'

She added that the pick of all three guitars also points to the fact that the burglary was not a random crime, but well planned by people with knowledge about guitars and their value.

'It's pitch black in here. They would have had to know - with the alarm going off, and the time being short - they would have had to know what they wanted and where to go before the police arrived,' Laurent said. 'This was a very specific focus. Not even looking for money in the cash drawers. Just in and out.'

The Laurents opened the store as usual Wednesday, but spent a great deal of their day calling other area music stores.

'We've alerted every music store in the area all the way down to Nashua,' she said.

Guitar Center has alerted all of its New England stores of the thefts, she said.

The Laurents have also posted the thefts on their Facebook page.

'The more people know, the more difficult it is to unload them,' she said.

She added that only a few days ago a business in nearby Quechee, Vt., was burglarized the same way; the perpetrators gaining access by crashing a vehicle into the building.

Police are asking people who saw anything suspicious in the area on Wednesday or have any information about the burglary to call police at 448-1212.

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