A touring musician is searching for a unique guitar allegedly stolen from a baggage claim at O’Hare International Airport Friday, hours before he was set to perform in Wisconsin.
“Mysticssippi” blues man Harry Manx said he was on his way to retrieve his luggage at O’Hare Airport when he realized his signature instrument, his Mohan Veena, a string instrument commonly used in Indian classical music, was missing.
Manx said he retrieved two of his instruments from the baggage claim, but a third, his favorite guitar, was missing.
The Canadian artist performed Friday without the guitar, but posted a plea on Facebook to Chicagoans and fans following the theft, in hopes that someone might find his beloved instrument.
“There's hardly been a day that I haven't played it,” Manx said in the post. “I feel as though I've lost a good friend. I need everyone's help to find it.”
Manx said the guitar was in a black fiberglass case, line with velvet and covered with lots of stickers, including one from the band “Le Vent Du Nord.” The guitar has 20 strings and two layers of strings running parallel with tuning heads down the neck.
“No other instrument looks like this,” he wrote in the post.
The post has been shared more than 60,000 times and has generated thousands of comments, including several from people checking local pawn shops and others offering to make or buy Manx a new guitar.
“I had a real shock in the beginning, but once I started to see the way things were going, people were so helpful and reaching out I found it very hard to be bummed out for very long,” he said. “I felt uplifted because I wasn’t aware that there was so many that care about such events that happen to others, people that don’t know me.”
In fact, he said someone is already sending him a new guitar from India.
Manx said the stolen guitar was given to him by his Grammy Award-winning teacher, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the inventor of the guitar.
“It’s the one I learned on, it’s the one I’ve sort of kept close to me for a long time,” he said. “I said to the lady at the airline, I said ‘could they not have taken another one, because this is the only one I can’t really replace. But, who knows, maybe I’ll find one that even sounds better.”
According to Chicago Police News Affairs, the theft took place just before 11 a.m. Friday in Terminal 2 at O’Hare Airport.
Police said Manx told them he saw the guitar on the belt, but turned away briefly before retrieving it. When he turned back, the case was gone.
Authorities say surveillance video captured a man taking the case and fleeing toward nearby CTA trains. No one was in custody and the guitar had not been retrieved as of Sunday.
But Manx is confident the guitar will turn up.
“I think I will [find it], I’m pretty confident I will,” he said. “I’ll keep my head up.”