Crooks steal expensive audio boards, vintage guitar, handguns

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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Miss. -- Burglars in Lafayette County stole a vintage guitar, a flat screen TV and some rare, expensive parts for a recording console.

Andrew Ratcliffe,  the owner of Tweed Recording Studio, wants to believe some of what was taken was accidental, but deputies aren't as forgiving.

"Rock and roll bands, singer-songwriters, jazz...," said Ratcliffe, who has been producing music in his Lafayette County studio for 18 years.

A few weeks ago, he was installing a massive and very rare mixing console,

"It's a Trident A-Range console. One of thirteen that were ever made. There are only five left in existence," said Ratcliffe.

It can handle 32 microphones and record 24 audio tracks.

Problem is someone took four audio monitoring boards before they were installed.

"I can only listen to 20 of the 24 channels at one time," said Ratcliffe.

He said the modules, still in protective shrink-wrap, were in the bottom of a shipping box when burglars broke into his studio the night of August 8th.

He doesn't believe the thieves had any idea the modules were in box and probably don't have a clue of how important they are to his business.

"And they're only valuable to myself and four other people in the world that actually have these consoles up and running," said Ratcliffe.

The burglars tossed a video game system in the box, grabbed a flat screen TV, and a vintage guitar worth about $5,000.

Lafayette County investigators believe the same persons are responsible for stealing three handguns from three separate vehicles in the College Hill community outside of Oxford.

It appears none of the vehicles, however, were locked at the time.

Chief Investigator Alan Wilburn cautioned people living in Lafayette County not to make it easy for criminals to steal: make sure to remove valuable items from vehicles, especially handguns, and make sure they're locked.

"I know a lot of people leave their pistols in their cars. But, you know, it would also help if you could lock your cars," said Wilburn.

Wilburn said he's checking local pawn shops to see if any stolen items show up and is entering serial numbers in a national data base.

Wilburn encourages anyone with information about the burglaries in the College Hill area to call Lafayette County Crime Stoppers at 662-234-8477.