At N.C. Central University, five instruments pilfered from the marching band room last year have been accounted for, but 14 sousaphones are still missing.
(Sousaphones are big suckers similar to tubas. That's one in the picture here to the left)
Last year, thieves hit the band room just before the annual Honda Battle of the Bands, and it wasn't clear then whether the band would be able to participate in the prestigious showcase.
Fortunately, the band played on with borrowed instruments.
Turns out, campus police earlier this year made two arrests related to the thefts of some of the instruments.
NCCU Detective Billy Boyd tells me that back in July, his agency arrested Kevin Lee Watson, 39, of 401 Trinity Avenue, and Tyrone Holland, 49, of 904 Dupree Street.
"The instruments were pawned and people bought them," Boyd said.
Police traced four instruments back to Watson, three trumpets and a flute. He was thus charged with four counts of obtaining property by false pretense and will pay restitution. Holland stole one flute, Boyd said, and received one count of the same charge.
Watson and Holland were both NCCU employees at the time, Watson as a locksmith and Holland as a painter. Both have been terminated.
"All the locks have been changed and cameras have been put up," Boyd said.
There were at least two break-ins, Boyd said. Police say Watson and Holland stole the trumpets and flutes during the first robbery. It isn't clear if they're responsible for the subsequent theft of the sousaphones, he said. The case is still open.
"IF anybody has any leads, we'll take it," Boyd said.