The pen is mightier than the sword. That is true sometimes and mandates great responsibility not only on how to report but deciding what to report on in the first place. We did report on the Halpern/DeVore theft during T.H.E. Show 2005 in Las Vegas not to diss Mike Maloney's event but to bring to attention an unfortunate incident, shed light on the subsequent difficulties of fairly assigning liability -- to show management, the hosting venue or the exhibitor -- and to hopefully prevent future exhibitors from suffering similar experiences.
All is well that ends well. While certain people took us to task for our original reportage by insisting it unfairly blamed show management, it turns out that publicizing this theft might have been helpful in recovering most of the items. As Jonathan Halpern tells the happy conclusion of this story, it kicked off with the following email received on April 17th at 12:15PM:
"Dear Jonathan Halpern.
Let me shortly introduce myself: I am a big Shindo admirer from Munich/Germany and a longtime friend of Willi Bauer who builds the wonderful dps turntable. I believe he said he met you in New York last year. I have read about the unbelievable robbery of Shindo etc at the January show. Just now most of the items (Giscours, Montille, Aurieges and the Arome CD transport that the seller offers) appear new for very attractive prices on eBay.com. Maybe the seller is purely honest and/or does not know what he is selling. But I believe that is too much of a coincidence. If this information helps you, I would be most pleased and maybe the guy has bought the stuff in good faith.
Best wishes from
Of course I immediately went over to eBay and entered Shindo into the search engine. The stolen Giscours, Montille and Aurieges were posted for sale with the "buy it now" option. Needless to say, I immediately purchased all three pieces. eBay then automatically sent an invoice indicating the seller's name, address and phone number which were located in Vegas. I called Vegas PD and asked for my detective but property crimes is off on weekends so I needed to wait until Monday morning. While on the phone with Vegas PD, my call-waiting went off with the seller's phone number indicated on my caller ID. I mistakenly ignored the call forgetting my voice mail would give away who I was. Next thing I know, the eBay auctions were officially canceled by the seller and he sent me an email that he can no longer offer the items for sale since they're stolen goods and must be returned to the proper owner.
Then the phone rings again and it's the seller. He introduces himself and tells me he has all my stolen goods and asks how he can return them to me as quickly as possible. I give him my FedEx account number and ask him to second-day them back. They've since arrived and all is well. He said he received an email telling him the goods were stolen which prompted him to cancel the auction. He then googled and found the 6moons articles. The LPs, CDs and clothing we lost are still at large. The seller claims he purchased the items through a weekly flea market in Vegas. - Jonathan Halpern
Mike Maloney has graciously offered both Jonathan Halpern and John DeVore free exhibit rooms for T.H.E. Show 2006 which will see full-time security guards patrolling the premises during the event. What could have been a very costly lesson learned turned out to mostly tax tempers and patience for once. Kudos to Christian Bayer for watching out for his fellow music lovers and notifying Jonathan fast enough to capture the eBay auction. Give it up for audiophile activism! If you have the simplest of tastes too and are always satisfied with the best, contact Jonathan Halpern on how to properly acquire his wares without resorting to robbery...