March 27, 2013 – Chicago / Asheville-based start-up GearTrack celebrates its official launch and announces the recovery of two valuable stolen mandolins owned by Vancouver, WA musicians Rocky and Deb Blakewood. The instruments went home to their rightful owners as a result of their listing on the online registry.
Founded by musicians in response to the theft of a treasured banjo, GearTrack’s mission is to aid in the recovery of stolen instruments through its user-created catalog of registered instruments and their serial numbers, photos and specs. Run by music industry refugee Molly Driessen and sister-in-law Bridget Driessen, GearTrack is a small family business with big dreams of impacting instrument theft.
“We’re so excited to have a success story.” says founder Bridget Driessen. “Whether you register your instruments before a theft or after, GearTrack really works.”
The return of Blakewood’s instruments is a direct result of his registration with GearTrack. After his home was burglarized Blakewood filed a police report, then canvassed Craigslist and local pawn shops. He then turned to the Internet and found GearTrack, where he registered his stolen mandolins, a Givens bought for his wife and a prized Lyon & Healy.
After a month of quiet searching, Blakewood was surprised by contact from GearTrack and members of the respected musicians’ forum, Mandolin Cafe. A user there had purchased the Givens from a local pawn shop and asked the forum about its value. Another member thought to check GearTrack and noticed the Givens had been flagged as ‘Stolen.’ The pawn shop and buyer agreed to return the mandolins. Read Blakewood’s story in his own words here.
“Casual inventory isn’t enough when things vanish,” says Blakewood in a thank you note to GearTrack. “Every serial number needs to be recorded and identifying marks added to things without serial numbers. Since the computers can also vanish, that record needs to be stored somewhere secure. I plan on using GearTrack for the future.”
Through advance registration, GearTrack users can catalog and organize instruments securely in the cloud. Victims of theft can tag gear as “stolen” and benefit from Facebook and Twitter blasts and email newsletters that reach a concerned community of 4000 folks (and growing). The site is free for stolen items and up to 5 listings. GearTrack founders hope that through the participation of instrument owners everywhere the site will be a primary tool for instrument buyers, resellers, pawn shops and law enforcement. Learn more about how GearTrack works here.
For more information on GearTrack contact Molly Nagel-Driessen.