GARLAND — The flashy guitars aren't expensive at first. Not until Brian Hughes gets a star like country singer Taylor Swift or a stock car driver like Tony Stewart to sign them. Once they do, the charity Hughes helped start can auction the instruments to raise money.
"We'll end up at auction getting between $1,000-$3,000," he said.
The main beneficiaries are the kids who visit Purtis Creek State Park near Eustace, where Hughes' charity — Friends of Purtis Creek State Park — sponsors "Kid Fishing Day," among other activities.
Hughes kept his signed guitars — 67 of them — stored at Uncle Bob's Self Storage on Broadway in Garland. He thought they were secure, until burglars struck.
"On Christmas Eve, they called me and asked me to come in and see if anything was missing," Hughes said. "When I opened the door to the storage unit, it was completely empty."
The total value of the stolen guitars is at least $70,000 — plus 4 years of hard work Hughes invested in getting them all signed.
"It was a kick in the solar plexus", he said.
Uncle Bob's Self Storage does have a security camera, but only one. It's at the front gate, and only shows cars going in and out. Police aren't sure that will help them pinpoint a suspect.
So Hughes is begging for help from the general public. "Hopefully someone will see one of these guitars and call us and we can get some of them back," he said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Garland Police Department.
Hughes said he thought about quitting the charity; then he thought about the kids. So now he's starting over.
One guitar at a time.