Stolen Les Paul turns up 37 years later......

  JYPX 22:08 21 May 09

Guitarist Ronnie Montrose had his 1959 Gibson Les Paul stolen, right off the stage, in Dudley (no - not that Dudley!) in 1972.
He thinks he has found it - here in the uk - in the possession of Gary Moore who bought it in all innocence after it changed hands several times. The subject is a hot topic in us based forums where many seem to think that us law will prevail!
What do you think, from a uk legal perspective. Do you think there is any chance that Gary could be forced to hand back this guitar?
click here

  Quickbeam 08:31 22 May 09

Well, at least Gary Moore can play it.

  Bingalau 08:35 22 May 09

I know Les Paul, but who is Gary Moore? Who is Ronnie Montrose?

  laurie53 08:42 22 May 09

Doesn't matter whether it's UK or US law, he can't legally keep it, it's stolen property.

The legitimate owners, presumably the insurers, may give up title after all this time, or a judge may decide that the current "possessor" now has established title, but that is by no means certain.

There are many cases of innocent parties buying stolen goods in good faith and losing out.

  Quickbeam 08:44 22 May 09

click here# C'mon...

  Quickbeam 08:56 22 May 09

"he can't legally keep it, it's stolen property."
If the criteria for ownership were the ability to make it speak and cry, then Gary Moore wins hands down! (2nd selection above link)

  Seth Haniel 11:58 22 May 09

work for the Indians - as they can rightfully claim back their happy hunting grounds ;)

Think 37 years is a bit late to be claiming considering the amount of hands it has been through -

  JYPX 12:59 22 May 09

Same guitar?
click here

  Forum Editor 18:31 22 May 09

If I had bought this guitar in good faith, and discovered that someone said it had been stolen from him thirty seven years ago I might be inclined to see what he could do about it.

  Quickbeam 07:31 23 May 09

But if it was insured, then it would belong to 'the Man from the Pru' if a payout was made. And seeing as he can't play it, it should stay in the hands of the present owner.

  Forum Editor 10:27 23 May 09

was based on my love of these guitars, rather than on the strictly legal situation.

I believe that if this came into a UK court, and the original owner could prove the guitar had been his, and had evidence of a police report of the theft, the judge would order that it be returned to him.

Someone who sells a stolen item - even though he/she had no reason to know - has nothing to pass to the purchaser by way of title, so the contract is void. This has nothing to do with whether anyone can play the instrument or not - it's just an item as far as the law is concerned.

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