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B.C. country musician recovers guitar stolen in Surrey 15 years ago

The Telecaster was a gift from his parents when he was starting out
Langley guitarist and producer Mitch Merrett, on the right with his band Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion, recently had a guitar missing for 15 years, a gift from his parents, recovered. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

A Langley musician, producer, and manager has recovered a stolen guitar with some serious sentimental value – 15 years after it was first stolen.

Mitch Merrett lost 14 guitars when a storage locker in Surrey was burgled in 2007.

Cpl. Bob Keay of the Surrey RCMP was assigned to the case, and managed to recover three of the stolen guitars fairly soon after the theft. Another two were recovered over the years by the Ridge Meadows RCMP and Vancouver Police Department.

But Merrett said he’s always kept an eye out on Craigslist when checking out guitars.

“They kind of pop up every once in a while,” he said.

Merrett recently spotted what he was pretty sure was his stolen Telecaster.

Although it had been a decade and a half since the theft, he called Keay back, and the RCMP officer remembered the case and said he would look into it right away.

The next day, Keay called back to say they had seized the guitar from a Vancouver pawn shop. Keay turned the recovered guitar over to Merrett a day after the report.

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This was a special guitar for Merrett.

“This was a guitar that my mom and dad got me many, many years ago,” Merrett said.

He had just begun to play country music, and his dad said he ought to have a Telecaster.

“It’s like a little piece of you goes missing,” he said of losing the guitar.

Now he and the guitar are reunited, and he’s already found out it still sounds great.

“I don’t think it’s been played since it was stolen,” Merrett said.

Although he owns a number of guitars – he declined to say how many, in case some other thief decides to try to clean him out again – as a musician, it’s like having a toolbox full of tools.

Merrett has played, produced, and managed in country music in B.C. for years. He’s toured in the past, but with two boys, aged 11 and 13, he’s staying off the road for now.

But Merrett is still a part of Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion, a Southern-rock inflected band he started a few years back with a group of old friends in the music business.

“I think the next song for Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion will have this guitar featured on it,” Merrett said.

There are still several guitars from the stolen batch that have not been recovered, including a green Ernie Ball Music Man Albert Lee.

Anyone with information about the theft can call the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502, or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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