Missoula Street Performer Searches For Stolen Banjo - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Street Performer Searches For Stolen Banjo

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MISSOULA -

A local musician is suffering from a huge loss after a banjo he inherited from his late father was stolen. He's now turning to Craigslist to help him find the banjo, which he says is the only source of income he has to support his family.

Lon Ishler has filed a police report and is reaching out to the public to help him find the 1965 Gibson Mastertone his grandfather put together.

"Playing music is my life essentially it's what makes me feel happy, and that was taken from me," said Ishler.

Ishler made a living playing his 1965 Gibson Mastertone in three different bands, and performing on the streets of Missoula, but that was taken from him when his banjo was stolen Sunday night.

"They opened the door, picked it up, I imagine it was probably a walk by," Ishler said.

He said he got home from work Sunday night, and put the banjo in the back of his van. When he went to get it the next morning it was gone.

"It's apart of who I am, anyone who knows me, has seen me walking around with it in the summer time," said Ishler.

His banjo can be recognized by a metal flower he strung under the strings of the head stock, multiple breaks in the base of neck, and an unmistakable bullet hole in the back of the body.

"I've heard a lot of stories about how the bullet hole got there, but it included a long night a lot of whiskey, and a bad decision on my fathers part," Ishler said.

The story of the bullet hole is just some of the history behind the instrument, which Ishler's grandfather pieced together to give to Ishler's father, prominent local musician Tim Ishler, when he was 14. Ishler inherited the banjo when his father passed away in 2008.

"Once I inherited it, I made it my mission to understand it," said Ishler.

Since inheriting the banjo, playing music has been Ishler's only source of income to support his wife and two-month old daughter. Ishler filed a police report, and is now using Craigslist to get the public's help finding the instrument that has so much family history.

"You probably have no idea what it is you've taken from me. If it's returned to me, I will not press charges, I will just be eternally grateful," said Ishler.

For now, a friend has lent Ishler a banjo, so he can make the money he needs to support his family. If you have any information on the banjo, he asks you to respond to his Craiglist ad.

 

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