Austin's Mike and the Moonpies Lost $25,000 Worth of Gear After Dallas Gig
In the early hours of the morning last Sunday, Austin-based singer Mike Harmeier and his band, Mike and the Moonpies, woke up to their worst nightmare. The previous night, they'd played a gig opening for Nashville band the Kernals at the Rustic here in Dallas. But sometime during the night, while they slept at a nearby La Quinta, they'd been robbed. The van and trailer they'd been traveling in was gone, along with all their gear. The losses were devastating, totaling nearly $25,000.
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"We thought for sure it had been towed," Harmeier recalls over the phone from Austin. "We called every tow rig in town and couldn't find it, so finally after about 30 minutes we had to call and report it stolen." And that was when the reality of the situation began to sink in: "Everything we own was in there," he says.
Harmeier reports that police recovered the van just yesterday, but that the trailer and their gear was nowhere to be seen. "All the locks had been popped, the steering column was destroyed; it's un-drivable," he explains. "They're towing it back to Austin tomorrow to get our insurance company to put an insurance estimate on it."
The financial hit of the thefts is of course staggering for the Moonpies, with the added setback that the band is now also without transportation. But what's been most difficult for the members to process is the sentimental attachments of the stolen items, many of which were custom-made.
Harmeier singles out the mic stand that guitar player Catlin Rutherford lost as especially important. "[Rutherford's] parents owned a dance hall in Uvalde, Texas called Purple Sage for years and years. That's probably the only remnant left of that dance hall; it's a mic stand that had 'Purple Sage' emblazoned on the bottom. He used it every night.
"Our only hope is that stuff like that shows up in a pawn shop somewhere," Harmeier adds. "There's really nothing like them."
In the aftermath of the losses, the band set up a YouCaring page to help try to recoup some of the costs of replacing their equipment. The reaction, Harmeier says, has been overwhelming.
"We've absolutely lucked out with all our friends," he says. "It's absolutely ridiculous. Within the first three hours we raised $5,000. Here it is the first three days and we've already raised $15,000." Bands around the state have also offered to loan the Moonpies equipment, meaning they were already able to play a scheduled gig last night at the Broken Spoke in Austin.
"We have to look on the bright side and say maybe we'll end up with some better gear than what we had before," Harmeier muses. He gives a wry laugh. "It's one of those lemon from lemonade kind of things."
Anyone with possible information or leads on the stolen gear is encouraged to contact email@example.com or the Dallas Police Department. On the next page, check the full list of missing gear.