Rare instruments stolen from ABQ theatre company

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque theatre company is devastated after a thief raided their headquarters and cleaned them out of some rare instruments that really stand out

With a room full of rare instruments including a Slovakian shepherds flute, orchestral bells and a tongue drum, you might think music is a hobby for Richard Van Schouwen. But once he starts playing, it’s clear the instruments are part of something bigger.

Van Schouwen and Sandy Timmerman have been playing instruments at their q-Staff Theatre in downtown Albuquerque for the last 15 years. Music is a big part of what they do.

“To create music and being able to work with voice and instrument is absolutely fundamental in how we create our work,” said Timmerman.

However, the theatre’s next performance might sound different after what happened over the weekend.

“This door was sitting about as this level of open and we knew immediately that something was wrong,” said Van Schouwen, standing at the door of their property on Broadway and Lead.

The performance space was broken into over the weekend.

“And then we just started walking around and it’s like oh my god,” said Timmerman.

The theatre’s owners said someone kicked down their front door either late Friday night or early Saturday morning. They said whoever did it took load after load of unique musical instruments.

One of the most unique instruments, Highland bagpipes from Scotland, were stolen. But the thieves didn’t stop there.

“His helicon, which is a Soviet-era, Eastern European tuba, it’s a wrap around brass kind of tuba with four rotary valves,” said Timmerman.

Thieves also stole drums, violins, trumpets, even a banjo. All of the instruments are worth thousands of dollars and extremely difficult to replace.

“It was really really horrible,” said Timmerman.

The theatre is now hoping someone will see the stolen instruments and call police.

“To have literally our voices taken away from us is a very difficult thing,” said Timmerman.

The q-Staff Theatre says some of the instruments are covered under insurance but many weren’t because they were bought overseas.

They say Albuquerque Police were able to lift some fingerprint from the scene, but so far they don’t have any suspects.

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