By JOHN T. WARD
The man whose plucking of a performer’s beloved acoustic guitar from a Red Bank bar was captured on video surveillance early Monday has returned the instrument.
Jamians Food & Drink owner Jamian Laviola tells redbankgreen the thief walked into the Monmouth Street bar Thursday afternoon, instrument in hand, and expressed remorse for what he’d done.
“He said, ‘I was drunk, that’s not me, I’m not like that,” Laviola said as he awaited the arrival of borough police, who wanted the guitar as evidence.
The thief volunteered his name and phone number, which Laviola said he would give to police and to musician Dale Lakata, the guitar’s owner. It would be up to Lakata to decide whether to pursue criminal charges, police indicated.
Lakata, a regular at the bar’s Sunday night open mics, could not be reached for comment. But Thursday night, on her Facebook page, she wrote: “im gonna be seeing the police tomorrow. i have decisions to make so im gonna just say i believe in good karma. the guy came back and brought it in.”
Laviola said the thief didn’t indicate whether he was aware of the redbankgreen article about the theft, or the Facebook campaign among local musicians and friends to identify him.
“He said he’d been really drunk, woke up with the guitar, and felt terrible about what he’d done,” Laviola said.
The thief’s entire body, from close-cropped head to flip-flops, was caught on video as he entered the basement restroom area where musician’s stash their gear during shows. He eyed the guitar, walked off with it, put it back, and returned to steal it, all within two minutes. A still frame from the video was circulated on the web.
Laviola said he took the man’s contact information and would leave the rest up to Lakata and the police.
“I’m not a judge or jury,” Laviola said. “But I told him: Don’t ever show your face in here again.”