WARTRACE, Tenn. - A man in Bedford County said his sense of security is gone after thieves stole special guitars, one belonging to a terminally ill man, from his family business.
Stephen Gallagher has grown up in Wartrace and described it as a small, quiet, and reliable community.
His grandfather opened Gallagher Guitar Co. in 1965 and has been known for its handcrafted guitars and repair work.
However, the third-generation family business saw its first crime in more than 50 years. Some time over the last week, someone came through the back door and stole two guitars from one of the back rooms.
Some tools were also stolen.
"They don't think about everything that has gone into these guitars and everything that it meant to the person," said Gallagher. "Obviously they didn't have a clue what they were grabbing. It's not just a guitar that came from some factory, but a guitar that has a lot of meaning."
Gallagher said one of the guitars, a 71 Special Customer with walnut back and sides and maple binding with the serial #3503, belonged to a man with a terminal illness.
"He's in a situation to where it was important to get this guitar back. He's upset with me. I'm responsible for these guitars," added Gallagher.
The other guitar was a G-70 with rosewood back and sides and a sitka spruce top with the serial #2447.
Gallagher is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest.
There were no surveillance cameras in the business.