Pokemon Go helps find Wichita musician’s stolen guitar

Lalanea Chastain’s guitar was stolen Saturday night but recovered by Tuesday, thanks to Pokemon Go and Facebook.
Lalanea Chastain’s guitar was stolen Saturday night but recovered by Tuesday, thanks to Pokemon Go and Facebook. Courtesy photo

Lalanea Chastain doesn’t play Pokemon Go. At the moment, she doesn’t even have a phone, thanks to a dirty deed by a Wichita thief.

But after last weekend, Pokeman Go is practically her favorite invention ever.

“Pokemon saved my guitar,” she said with a laugh.

Chastain, a popular local singer who fronts the band Bad Mother Hubbard, was performing with another one of her groups Saturday on the patio at Oeno in Old Town Square. As always, she brought along her Cort acoustic guitar, a cherished instrument that a good friend urged her to buy two years ago at a music festival.

After the gig, she and one of her bandmates had a miscommunication. He thought he was just loading up her PA. Chastain thought he was grabbing her guitar, too. She’d tossed her cellphone in the case while she’d performed, so she didn’t get in touch with her bandmate until Monday to arrange a pickup.

He didn’t have her guitar.

“Somewhere, the lines got crossed,” she said. “I thought he was taking my guitar, but it got left behind. And instead of somebody turning it in, they took it.”

Heartbroken, Chastain got on Facebook to put out an APB on her guitar. She asked Wichita to keep its eyes open, and included a picture of the guitar, decorated on its face with a decal of a sketch a friend had done of a woman’s face.

Meanwhile, Jackie Hammond also had posted about a guitar on Facebook.

She’d been out on Sunday night playing Pokemon Go, the popular new video game that sends players all over town to collect virtual Pokemon hiding in public places, with her boyfriend, Dan Jenesse. He spotted a rare Pokemon he wanted to catch hiding in Old Town Square. They made a few turns and found themselves on a dirt road behind the Warren Theatre in Old Town.

“In the middle of the road was a case,” Hammond said. “I stopped the car and said to my boyfriend, ‘I wonder if there’s a guitar in it.’ 

He got out to check and pulled out an acoustic guitar. On its face was a decal of a sketch of a woman’s face.

They took the guitar home, and Hammond pulled up Facebook.

“Hey friends I need a huge favor!” Please share this post!” she posted. “Found a guitar downtown in a case I want to find the correct owners. I will not share a picture. If anyone has lost a guitar or knows someone who lost one please Inbox me the color of the case the color of the guitar and if it had any designs on it.”

By Monday, a match was made. A Facebook friend of Chastain’s was Facebook friends with Hammond’s boyfriend’s stepmother. Enough people had shared both posts that the mystery was quickly solved.

Hammond got in touch with Chastain immediately via Facebook messenger.

“My first words were OMG exclamation point,” Chastain said with a laugh. “There was also lots of ‘I love you’ and ‘You’re my hero.’ 

The women met at a Walgreens on Tuesday morning, and Chastain was reunited with her guitar.

The thieves damaged the guitar a bit – some of the wood is chipped away at the bottom. But Chastain says it sounds good and she hopes it can be repaired. Everything but her cellphone was still in the case – her strap, her strings, her capo, her cable and her tuner.

Hammond said the happy ending made her feel good – at least as good as her boyfriend felt when he snagged that rare Pokemon behind the Warren that night.

“It makes me happy seeing someone that happy,” Hammond said. “I love helping people.”

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil