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Local band’s future in jeopardy after theft of van and gear

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LAKEWOOD - Poprocks Cleveland has been wowing crowds for more than a decade, but now the band's future gigs are in jeopardy.

“Woke up at 7 this morning, looked out the window and the van and trailer are gone,” said Poprocks Cleveland drummer Tom Phillips.

Phillips said someone stole the band's 1995 Ford Econoline van and trailer from in front of his home in the 1400 block of Winchester Avenue in Lakewood between 3:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday. Thousands of dollars in equipment inside the trailer is gone.

“All the stuff you would need to put on a show, so instruments, guitars, drums, bass cabinets, head units, an entire light show,” Phillips said.

Band members described the theft as heartbreaking, as much of the equipment has taken years to gather, and the instruments have sentimental value.

“Unless you're a musician, you don’t really understand how it feels and what's really going through our minds,” singer Chris Donley said.

The band posted about the theft online, and someone who saw the post discovered the van abandoned along the on ramp to I-490 in Tremont Monday afternoon. Locks on the van and trailer had been broken, the ignition was stripped and all the equipment in the trailer was missing.

“It's drivable, but it doesn't have the most important contents in it,” Phillips said.

Police dusted for finger prints, and as investigators try to track down suspects, band members say they still have hope they can get their gear back.

“I would hope they would put themselves in our shoes. The equipment that was stolen, although it's material, there is sentimental value there. A person like me, I’m very attached to those instruments,” guitarist Steve Simbeck said. “You grow to almost have a relationship with those pieces.”

The band said it has already contacted local pawn shops to keep an eye out for the valuable instruments. While the band has received offers to borrow equipment for upcoming gigs, members say that’s just not the same. For now, those gigs are on hold.

“We bring a lot of joy to people's lives doing this every weekend and making people dance, sing, forget their problems for a couple hours at the bar,” bass player Mark Gordon said. “And we can't do that until we get our stuff back.”

1400 block of Winchester, Lakewood, Ohio