MILWAUKEE — A local band's tour vehicle was broken into Wednesday afternoon in downtown Milwaukee, and nearly all their instruments were stolen.
The band, Diet Lite, is without its bass, snare drum, cymbals, and Max Niemann's beloved vintage guitar, an Eastwood Airline 3P DLX.
"It just sucks. I feel like I lost part of me. It was part of my music identity," said Niemann, who plays guitar, bass and sings in the group.
The break-in happened near the corner of Water Street and E. Knapp on Wednesday around 5 p.m.
According to Milwaukee Police, the suspect entered the victim’s vehicle and removed property. Police said they're looking for unknown suspects.
The band filed a report with the Milwaukee Police Department. It's also working with local pawn and retail shops to spread the word about the stolen instruments.
According to Diet Lite, a local music store owner was approached by the possible thieves. They said two people tried to sell the vintage guitar but left before band members or police could arrive.
"If you can return this stuff undamaged, we not going to press any charges. We just want our stuff back. Well, we'll consider it [not pressing charges]," said Niemann.
The band said they believe they know who did it, based on the store's surveillance video. Niemann said they even have the alleged burglar's phone number, but they're waiting to see how the police investigation plays out before calling.
"I don't think they realize what they're doing when they take stuff like that. He [Niemann] has an emotional connection to that guitar," said drummer Evan Marsalli.
The group learned a hard lesson about leaving their gear in a car. But, at least, they said, they've been uplifted by the community's support.
"It’s been really cool to see the Milwaukee music scene and the music scenes around the region, and just our friends, family, people we don’t even know, reaching out, sharing about the stuff," said Niemann.
They band has continued to gig, using some back-up equipment and borrowing cymbals from other bands they're performing with.
Their next show in Milwaukee in on April 14th at the Cactus Club.