By Sasha Lekach, Bay City News Service
The tour van of a Michigan-based indie folk band that was performing
in the Bay Area last week had their van stolen in the Berkeley/Oakland hills Thursday
According to Micah Middaugh from band Breathe Owl Breathe, the van, a 1998 Ford
Econoline, was recovered Sunday near 41st and West streets in Oakland but the
musical trios' instruments were still missing.
The van was found trashed, gutted and vandalized. It was totaled.
Some of the equipment in the van was irreplaceable, including vintage instruments, such as a 1960s keyboard and cello.
"All of our instruments that we've collected throughout our lives," Middaugh said. "All of them were gone."
However, some items were left in the van including LPs, CDs, T-shirts and other merchandise, which is valuable to the group.
The group, comprised of Middaugh, Trevor Hobbs, and Andréa Moreno-Beals, had performed in Berkeley last week after coming from the Pacific Northwest region.
They were near the end of their tour, but a final show at Slide Ranch near Muir Woods in Marin County was able to go on over the weekend because of generous local fans that donated instruments for the night, Middaugh said.
He said the trio is trying to "not be knocked down and feeling helpless."
The van was taken sometime overnight Thursday when the group had parked it for the night at the end of Dwight Way near the Berkeley border.
"It seemed really safe," he said today, speaking from a minivan the group bought for a bargain from a friend to take them back to Michigan where their tour continues through August.
They had made it to Nevada and were hoping to put in 12 hours of driving today, he said.
He said the group members kept all their equipment in the van, and in the theft they lost all the money they had earned along their tour, which included shows in Alaska, Washington and Oregon before arriving in California.
They had the van for about five years, and Middaugh recalled making home videos and even recording some songs in the van with its turquoise interior that his father had decked out with hammocks to hang their equipment and handmade wooden boxes that held their albums.
As for their upcoming shows, Middaugh was unsure how their shows will go on. He said they expect they'll have to borrow instruments.
"We're always inspired," he said. "We are completely reinventing ourselves."
He said fans in the Bay Area and across the country have been helping out the unlucky bandmates.
"People have been reaching out in amazing ways," Middaugh said.
He said the group has no hard feelings toward the Bay Area and hopes to return.
"We're realizing we have each other," he said. "We're just hanging on and just really thankful."
He said their instruments are likely floating around the Bay Area.
The group is hoping to find their instruments in the Oakland area. They are asking residents and fans to be on the lookout for the items, perhaps on sale online at Craigslist or at flea markets and pawnshops.
The group listed on their website a full list of items that were taken, which includes the cello, keyboard, a pedal bass, several acoustic guitars, amps and a drum set.
Photos of many of the items are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonofoto/sets/72157635016042986/.
The band thanked fans for their support during the ordeal.
"Your outpouring has been overwhelming and a tremendous help in keeping a positive outlook on all that has happened," they wrote in a post Monday.
Oakland police were not available to comment on the theft.
Anyone with information about the stolen items is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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