Downtown nightspot 4th&B has among the most stringent security measures of any local venues, including a pat-down on entry, surveillance cameras, and security roaming inside and outside the club. On February 11, however, none of that was enough to stop someone from walking off with one of owner Vincent Puma’s prized signed guitars from a display behind the venue’s side bar, located near the loading bay.
An avid rock-memorabilia collector, Puma has a collection of more than three dozen such guitars on display, each signed at 4th&B concerts. On display are instruments from Skid Row, Ratt, Dramarama, Korn, and the Cult. The stolen guitar, which had been signed by Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube last July, was taken during a Delfonics and Temptations tribute double bill.
The signed instruments tend to be lower-end models, such as Fender Squier Stratocaster, which retail at around $100. “It was the last one on the end,” said Puma, pointing at a vacant spot behind the bar. “I think it was [taken by] one of the acts or one of the road crews.... They couldn’t have gone out the front door with the guitar, they had to have gone out the back.” He feels he was lulled into a false sense of security by the type of bill on the evening of the theft, with its older crowd demographic. “I was light on security that night because of the type of show it was. That’s a good crowd of people,” he said. He plans to make minor changes to his security plan, including posting someone near the bar.
Puma’s not sure if his insurance covers the theft, but he was planning to ask Snoop Dogg to sign another guitar at his concert on April 20. Puma notes that only a few artists have declined to sign. “Jeff Beck wouldn’t,” he said. “OMD was here, but they didn’t want to sign a guitar because they’re not a guitar band. Ted Nugent also wouldn’t sign a guitar; he’d only sign a photo. His tour manager said the guitar wasn’t good enough,” Puma laughed.