Finally some leads are surfacing in the case of Rafael Anton Irisarris stolen moving truck.
  • Bob Hansen
  • Finally some leads are surfacing in the case of Rafael and Rita Irisarri's stolen moving truck.

Remember when then-Seattle techno/ambient producer Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka the Sight Below) and his wife Rita’s moving truck with all their belongings was stolen on Memorial Day? How could you forget? Anyway, the couple has since moved to New York state and have been trying to get on with their lives after that trauma. Yesterday, though, Rafael received some hopeful news from a musician friend: three of his instruments—a Fender bass and two Guild guitars—were found at Trading Musician in Ravenna. These instruments were sold to the shop on Oct. 3 and Trading Musician has details of the person who sold them. “The shop had tried to contact the detective in charge of the case [Det. Manuel (Manny) Quinonez] several times and finally [two days ago] they got a hold of him,” Irisarri says. “[Yesterday] I finally was able to talk to the detective at SPD, too, and he's not even started trying to track these people down. It’s a huge break on the case, which might lead to where all of our things ended up, and when I talked to the detective he said the ‘police have many cases they are working on,’ i.e. not a priority.”

Irisarri praised Trading Musician’s manager John Herman for “doing all the legwork for the cops and [being] super nice getting me a bunch of details and letting me know what my next steps are.”

I called Herman and asked him if he could describe the person who sold Irisarri’s instruments to Trading Musician. "The woman sold one of the guitars and seemed a little weird," Herman said, "so we kind of low-balled because we weren’t sure what was going on. She came back later with two instruments and that also seemed strange. Something rang a bell. We started digging around in what is pretty much the novel that is the stolen stuff that people send to us—it’s a huge book. Sure enough, we remembered the whole U Haul thing. We looked through and there were these three instruments on there. So I took a chance and called her and said, ‘Hey, we know this stuff is stolen. If you don’t want to be involved or prosecuted for stealing someone’s merchandise, you should bring the money back to us.' She returned the money, over $700, and left the instruments with us. We did our normal protocol and reported the instruments and her name, as well. We entered 0 as the dollar amount that we paid for them.

"Finally, a couple of days ago, I got a hold of detective [Quinonez]. He’s been out of town, apparently. He’s interested because it appears to be the first real lead that they’ve had."

Herman says the woman didn't seem suspicious "in her manner or demeanor, but just the fact that she had these nice guitars that she didn’t really know anything about and had them wrapped in towels. If she had just done the one and come back later with another one, it wouldn’t have raised a red flag. The fact that she came with three guitars that were on that list in one day was extraordinary.

“[Irisarri] didn’t have serial numbers for a lot of these things. If just one of ’em pops up without any of the other gear, no detective is going to think twice about it. Luckily, she did bring three things in on one day.

"The owner of the store [Robin Bartlett-Smith] said, ‘I can’t believe you got the money back.’ Who brings back $700? She obviously didn’t steal the stuff or even had direct knowledge that the stuff was stolen. Otherwise, she’d hang up on me and not come back with the money. That’s typical thief m.o."

Herman says Quinonez and the SPD now have all the information on the transaction and the woman who sold the instruments. "Hopefully, this lady knows something about where this stuff came from. It’s a drop in the bucket, but at least [Irisarri] will get these three things back."