Indie-rockers Pinback played a memorable show at Sunset Temple for San Diego Music Thing last Saturday night, but it could've ended in disaster. About half an hour into their set, a thief snuck into the back area unnoticed and made off with one of Zach Smith's custom-built Alembic basses, which typically cost several thousand dollars.
The thief didn't get far, though. Shortly after the band noticed that the bass was missing, drummer Chris Prescott spotted a man stuffing it into a trashcan not far from the North Park venue. Prescott chased him down and intercepted him at Queen Bee's a few blocks away.
According to San Diego Police Det. Gary Hassen, police arrived at the scene just before midnight. The thief was a white male in his 50s, but officers didn't take down his name because Smith decided not to press charges. (On CityBeat's music blog, "Check 1, Check 2," I originally reported incorrectly that the man had been arrested.)
Security guards had been posted at Sunset Temple that night, but nobody was guarding the backstage because a fence blocked the back door, supposedly making it safe from intruders. When Pinback resumed its set after a 40-minute break, CityBeat publisher (and Music Thing organizer) Kevin Hellman says he posted up at the backstage; a security guard later took over.
Back onstage, Smith was relieved. "I'm very grateful I got my bass back," he said.