13. TUBA THEFTS IN CALIFORNIA
In February 2012, The New York Times ran a story about a string of crimes that could have come straight out of a National Lampoons film. Thieves were breaking into numerous high schools in southern Los Angeles County to pilfer not computers or hi-tech sound equipment but brass tubas and sousaphones. At a high school in Bell, CA., instruments worth around $7,000 were pinched leaving teachers and students asking why. After all, the melt-down value of brass is not worth the trouble of such an elaborate heist.
This left some people believing that the instruments were being stolen to be played, particularly in what’s known as a Banda, a traditional Mexican musical ensemble. Certainly Bandas have enjoyed an upsurge in popularity recently and players can make a hefty packet at weddings and other special occasions. The belief is that the instruments are now in the hands of Mexican musicians, but no one will ever really know.