Harry Manx was having lunch with a fellow musician Tuesday when he received a phone call with good news: His signature guitar had been found, four days after it was stolen in Chicago.
Surveillance video showed someone nabbed the Indian guitar last week at O'Hare International Airport, a case that sparked a social media frenzy after Manx posted about the ordeal on Facebook.
“I feel such a relief,” Manx, 59, said in a phone interview Tuesday as he prepared for a show outside Montreal. “It could be replaced, but this one is special. I really love this instrument.”
Anthony Hargrove, 59, of the 1500 block of West Garfield Boulevard in Chicago, was charged Tuesday with felony theft in the disappearance of the guitar and the theft of three bags Monday, Chicago police announced in a press release Tuesday evening. Hargrove is on parole in a 2011 felony theft from Midway Airport, and previously has served several stints in prison, including for thefts from O'Hare in 2005 and 2002, according to records.
When they were alerted to the guitar theft, investigators reviewed surveillance tapes and saw a man go up to a baggage carousel and take the guitar, according to the release. Monday about 1 p.m., a plainclothes police officer saw a man in Terminal 2 who looked like the thief on the surveillance tape, and police arrested the man, who turned out to be Hargrove, when he tried to steal three bags at the airport, according to the press release.
Further investigation connected him with the guitar theft, and police found the guitar, according to police.
The guitar went missing on Friday after Manx, while en route to Wisconsin, landed at O'Hare. When he arrived at the baggage claim just before 11 a.m., the velvet-lined case containing his Mohan veena guitar was missing.
Video footage shows someone take the black fiberglass case and walk away, Manx said.
Manx, a Canadian musician who blends classical Indian and blues music, took to Facebook that night and pleaded for the return of the Mohan veena, a hybrid of a sitar and guitar.
“I've had that veena more than 20 years. There's hardly been a day that I haven't played it,” Manx wrote on Facebook. “I feel as though I've lost a good friend.”
Within 40 minutes of his post, more than 50,000 people had viewed it. By Tuesday afternoon, Manx said, that figure had exceeded 5.3 million.
On his Facebook page, fans and strangers have left inspiring comments. A few offered to build or send him another Mohan veena. Many wrote about times when they were down and how things eventually improved. Most important, thousands shared his words.
“That's a testament to the goodness of strangers, the kindness of strangers,” Manx said. “They all moved the message forward, and it all helped out.”
The Chicago Department of Aviation said it's the airlines' responsibility to handle security at the baggage claims because they operate the carousels. Air Canada, the carrier Manx flew, declined to comment.
But once the bags hit the carousel, the situation can be murky, said Joe Brancatelli, who runs a website for business travelers. Many airlines say that once they deliver the luggage to the baggage claim, their job is finished.
Manx said he will fly back to Chicago next week to pick up his guitar. He will have a break between shows and is happy to make the extra trip, he said.
“It's not a problem for me,” Manx said. “That will be a joyful journey, for sure.”
Hargrove has an extensive criminal record, and is on parole in a Jan 25, 2011 theft over items worth more than $500 from Midway Airport, according to court and police records. Prior to his 2011 arrest, Hargrove was sentenced to 30 months in prison for two felony thefts at O’Hare, one from 2002 and another from 2005. The first theft took place Sept. 21, 2002, but Hargrove, who has used numerous aliases over the years, failed to show up for hearings in that case, and had a warrant issued for his arrest. He was arrested on another felony theft from O’Hare that took place on Jan. 30, 2005, and sentenced in both cases simultaneously, according to court records.
Under aliases such Larry James, Louis Johnson, James Kilmichael, Anthony Shabazz and Mut-Talib Shabizzx, Hargrove has been arrested numerous times for misdemeanor theft or trespassing at Chicago’s airports, and even the city’s main Greyhound Bus Station, 630 W. Harrison St., according to court and police records.
Hargrove’s criminal record dates back at least to 1975, when he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for rape and armed robbery, according to state records. After he was released from prison in those cases, he was arrested and sentenced to prison for another robbery in 1982.
Hargrove is due in Cook County Central Bond Court on Wednesday, police said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun