Band's Van, Gear Stolen in Uptown

Thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen, including new, custom-designed drum set

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A band from Chicago's Uptown neighborhood has collaborated on dozens of songs, but their most recent tune rings especially poignant for all the wrong reasons.

    "The Commoner" was put together within hours of their van being stolen Thursday morning from outside their Uptown bungalow in the 4700 block of North Dover Street. Inside the van were thousands of dollars worth of band equipment, including a four-day-old, custom drum set estimated to be worth about $8,000.

    "I looked out the window and realized it wasn't there," said guitarist Matthew Irizarry. "We've still got the key (to the vehicle), but no van."

    But why "The Commoner?"

    Because police could catch the thief or thieves, put them in a line-up, and the band mates would have no clue who they're really looking for, they said.

    "He could be any guy," said keyboard player and singer, Chris Weinke. "We've pored everything we have into these instruments and this van, and keeping them working. And he took it all away so fast."

    The band members, who've been together roughly three years, posted photos of the instruments on a website in an effort to help track down their prized possessions. They've also checked with area tow companies. They do have insurance for their van, but not their instruments.

    "This will obviously be a speed bump," said Weinke. "We work hard to do this, and it's a real unfortunate thing. But, I want everyone to know that we're not going to stop."

    True to their promise, four of the band's five members spent their Friday night in a practice session, playing instruments still in their possession, preparing for their next gig scheduled for March 1 at Chicago's Underground Lounge.

    Last August, a Portland-based band had their van and trailer full of gear stolen shortly after their set at Lollapalooza. The van was later found, but not the equipment. A man allegedly told police he sold some of the gear at a Chicago Swap-O-Rama.

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