Several tips lead to recovery of Buck Owens' intact guitar

Feb. 17—Kern County Sheriff's Office deputies recovered a stolen Buck Owens guitar from Greenlawn Cemetery Jan. 8, according to a search warrant filed in Kern County Superior Court.

"The guitar was found intact and returned to the post office," Danielle Kernkamp, spokeswoman for the KCSO, said in an email Wednesday.

Thieves pilfered the instrument and USPS packages from the U.S. post office on Minner Avenue in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, according to the search warrant. Surveillance footage shows suspects breaking into the post office and leaving behind a shoe print on the glass, according to the court documents.

Several tips led deputies to identify some of the suspects; however, no one is in custody and nobody has been charged, according to KCSO inmate and court records available online. Deputies found the stolen guitar at Greenlawn after receiving a tip, the court document said.

The instrument was later swabbed for DNA, according to a search warrant.

After serving the search warrant, deputies seized shoes, electronic devices, debit cards, photographs and DNA from one of the suspects.

A spot where the country legend's guitar once hung at the post office remained open as of Wednesday afternoon. Jim Shaw, a keyboard player in Owens' band, the Buckaroos, previously told The Californian multiple copies of the guitar exist in the Crystal Palace and that the instrument could be replaced. Neither Shaw nor the supervisor of the post office could be reached for comment Wednesday.

David Jay, 74, waited to drop off packages Wednesday with his wife and said he's come to this location for about 11 years.

"It's not a personable thing, I don't think," Jay said, referencing the guitar's theft. "This made me really upset."

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction, said Jeff Fitch, U.S. postal inspector and public information officer. Anyone with information can anonymously contact the U.S. Postal Service at any time, toll-free at 877-876-2455.

KCSO officials previously said the neck of the stolen guitar — which was taken from the U.S. post office on Minner Avenue — was found Dec. 31 in an abandoned building on O Street. Kernkamp did not return requests for comment Wednesday about the reported recovery of the guitar's neck.

Both Kernkamp and U.S. postal inspectors said the investigation is ongoing.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.