A thief took instruments from San Diego's Junior Theatre production of "School of Rock" sometime after the production’s opening night performance last Friday, according to the theater's officials.
The instruments are vital to the musical, which is performing at the Casa Del Prado Theatre in Balboa Park, and students involved in the show are taking it personally.
“A musician's relationship to an instrument is an intimate one. All these folks were using their own instruments,” Junior Theatre Executive Director Jimmy Saba said.
Two guitars were stolen from Junior Theatre actors Pita Birkbeck, 15 and Oliver Davis, 12. Two other guitars were stolen from orchestra pit musicians, and a MacBook Pro laptop computer that was used as a prop was also taken.
The stolen guitars include a white Fender Stratocaster, a red Epiphone Archtop, a Fender Mustang bass guitar and a seafoam white Fender bass guitar.
Saba said two of the guitars were left in the orchestra pit and two were left on stage that night. No one from the production was in the theatre after 11 p.m. and all the doors inside and outside the building were locked.
A sophomore at Point Loma High School, Pita Birkbeck said, "It was kind of heartbreaking and it left all of us at the theater with uncertainty."
Members of the production had just three hours before the next show when the theft was discovered.
"There was some panic," Saba said.
"It’s a temporary victory. There is still a lot of sadness. These instruments are missing and they meant a great deal to the people who owned them," Saba said.
While the program teaches young people theatre, it also encourages critical thinking and teamwork.
The production only has three shows left this season.
"Time is going to help a little bit but it’s never going to replace those instruments," Saba said.
The San Diego Police Department is investigating.
The musicians and cast members are doing their best to find the stolen instruments; some are posting on social media and others are searching second hand music stores and online classifieds.