One of the first pieces they tried to replace was a unique guitar owned by guitarist Todd Farrell, Jr.
“There’s not a lot of them out there,” Murphy says. “So we go online and start looking and sure enough there’s one out there on Ebay in one of the suburbs north of St. Louis. The serial number was on there, and the last number of the serial number was different than ours — everything else was the same. Ours either ended up in a six or a nine and this one was the opposite of that six or nine. If someone knew what they were doing they could just grab it on Photoshop and turn it upside down.”
Next: the band bids on the equipment.
Singer Micah Schnabel bid on the guitar, thinking, according to Murphy, that the worst case would be they got a good deal. Best case, they found the person selling their stolen gear.
Schnabel won the bid and asked if the guitar could be shipped to Farrell in Nashville, explaining that the band recently had a bunch of equipment stolen. As soon as he made mention of the theft, the seller refunded Schnabel’s money via PayPal and blocked him on the site. Some quick investigation revealed that the seller, who went by the username “OnlyTheBestGadgets,” was placing all of the band’s missing equipment up for auction.
Though the account has since been disabled, Ebay still allows for a search of user feedback on items OnlyTheBestGadgets sold over the past six months. Guitar pedals, cameras and computers are highlights of past sales, all of which would very likely be found in the van of a band on tour.
Around the same time he discovered the account, Murphy was put in touch with Detective John Anderson from the St. Louis Metro Police Department’s fourth district. Murphy gave the detective a complete list of the items stolen from the van, including serial numbers for most of the instruments. Anderson was initially responsive, Murphy says, but eventually stopped returning the drummer’s calls.
As the police and Ebay continue their game of he-said-he-said, the most frustrating part is that user information for OnlyTheBestGadgets is still available — if only the two parties could somehow contact each other. Even though the user has since disabled the account, [Ebay's Ryan] Moore says Ebay could still access the records from April.
“Unreal,” Murphy says when told the police could still obtain the user info. “I know they have bigger and better things to worry about — matter of fact, when the one guy was originally doing our police report he got a call in for a shooting… But you would think at some point you get any kind of info, that they were looking into anything that might be on that list in front of them."