Band of thieves targets Saskatchewan music stores
St. John's Music in Saskatoon and Regina robbed as well as Long & McQuade in Saskatoon
- Watch surveillance video of theft
There's a band of thieves at large.
A team of robbers recently walked into Saskatoon's Long & McQuade music store and stole two professional Selmer saxophones. The woodwind instruments are worth about $6000 each.
Barry Morozoff manages the store. He said the brazen robbery was made possible thanks orchestrated teamwork four suspected thieves used on his sales floor.
"A lone male entered the store, looked around, proceeded to take one of the saxophones off the wall and exited the store," Morozoff recalled.
Soon after Morozoff and his staff realized the expensive saxophones were missing and reviewed their security cameras' footage.
After reporting the incident to police, Morozoff took to the store's Facebook page and posted some of the footage of the robbery and still photos of the suspects.
He explained he did this with the hope that justice will be served.
"These individuals could be identified and hopefully brought to justice and we could recover our saxophones," Morozoff explained. "[And] to make them very recognizable and hope that it makes them unable to do what they are doing to anyone else."
Saskatoon Police say they are looking for all four of the people shown in the above videos.
St. John's Music in Regina and Saskatoon robbed
However, the same sort of robbery had already occurred at St. John's Music in Saskatoon and Regina.
Brian B.C. Read manages the Saskatoon location. He said two months ago a $3500 trumpet was taken, during store hours, off the sales floor. A couple weeks later, two more of the expensive, professional-grade trumpets were taken in the same manner.
It was around that same time that two premium saxophones were also stolen from St. John's Music in Regina.
When Read described the burglaries, he recalled similar scenarios to that which Long & McQuade staff caught on tape last week.
Read said he believes the thefts are connected, calculated and carried out by professionals.
"Whoever's doing this is shopping for somebody.These are high-end professional instruments, not your amateur, grade-school models," Read said. "I think what is happening is they're out shopping for somebody... so they case the store, they find out where one is, find out these guys have one on display. Boom. They come in and do the job. They are pros."
Targeted for years
Keith Brenneman oversees the operations at St. John's Music from Winnipeg. However he worked at St. John's Music in Saskatoon, during the 1990s, and said there were similar incidents then.
Brenneman said he did have some luck relocating some of the instruments that have been stolen over the years.
"Years ago, we were able to get a couple of flutes back and a piccolo," Brenneman said. "In Toronto, believe it or not, somebody walked out with a very high-end tuba. They had it under their overcoat, if you can believe that."
By keeping an eye on local pawn shops, they found the tuba.
"They tried to sell it privately, and of course we found out about it and we ended up getting the tuba back," Brenneman said.
All of the sources CBC News spoke with agreed: if a deal is too good to be true it probably is.
"If somebody offers you a high-end professional instrument, at an incredibly low price, chances are it's stolen," Read said. "So, if somebody comes to you with a $7000 Selmer saxophone that they're willing to part with for a thousand bucks, there's something wrong with that deal."
Saskatoon Police confirmed a robbery took place at Long and McQuade on October 24. However, they said there was no notable spike in the theft of musical instruments that they had observed.
Long & McQuade is on the lookout for a Selmer 62JDIR Series 3 Alto, with serial number T54523 and a Selmer 72FDIR Reference Series Alto with a 747065 serial number.