AUSTIN - Police have charged a man in connection to the April theft of guitars signed by Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Los Lonely Boys and Jeff Beck.
Court documents allege Esequiel Martinez, 53, was in possession of three rare guitars reported stolen from the Discount Electronics in South Austin on April 22:
-Fender Stratocaster guitar signed by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck, valued at $12,000
-Black bass guitar signed by the members of Los Lonely Boys, valued at $1,500
-Acoustic guitar containing signatures that included Willie Nelson and Mac Brown, valued around $2,000
The affidavit states police were called to a Central Austin pawn shop around 12:45 p.m. April 23 after two men reportedly came into the store and tried to pawn three guitars. The clerk gave descriptions of the men to police, along with the license plate of the vehicle they were driving.
KVUE previously reported that an anonymous person called the store April 24, claiming to be in possession of the stolen guitars.
"We received an anonymous call to one of our stores on Sunday afternoon from a gentleman claiming to be in possession of all three of our guitars,” said General Manager Ken Greene at the time. “He had seen the coverage and decided it would be in his best interest to either destroy them or attempt to collect the reward money."
The affidavit states the owner paid $2,500 to get the guitars, and that they recorded the meeting with Martinez. Martinez allegedly said he bought the guitars from a “white boy” that was addicted to methamphetamine, and would identify that person for $600. Police said they identified Martinez from the recorded video, and his location from the description of the vehicle.
According to the affidavit, police contacted Martinez on May 2 to discuss the guitars. Martinez allegedly told police he bought the guitars at a flea market on Riverside Drive for $150 and admitted to trying to sell them at a pawn shop at South 1st Street and Manchaca. He told police that he was told the guitars “were legit” and “figured they belonged to someone.”
When asked about the visit to the Central Austin pawn shop, Martinez allegedly told police the other person was his son and that he was “not in Austin anymore.” Police said he then allegedly began talking about the burglary and “seemed confident that it could not be solved because “there was no cameras or alarm system.””
Police noted in the affidavit that Martinez was arrested for engaging in organized criminal activity and burglaries of other buildings, and that he has nine prior convictions for theft and one prior burglary conviction. The affidavit dated Nov. 30 charges Martinez with theft by appropriation, a state jail felony.
Online records at the Travis County Jail state Martinez has been in police custody since Aug. 4. He is being held on combined $100,000 bond. A booking photo of Martinez was not available as of 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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