GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Gastonia Police arrested 43-year-old Peggy Jane Gunter and charged her with possession of stolen goods after police say she attempted to pawn instruments stolen from Ashbrook High School's band room.
Last Tuesday, police say someone busted out the window in the band room and stole two trumpets and a saxophone, along with various electronic equipment - all valued at more than $18,000.
Among the instruments stolen, a Bach Stradivarius trumpet valued at nearly $10,000 and a Yamaha Xeno trumpet valued at $5,000. Both of the more expensive trumpets belonged to Ashbrook Band Director Ben Jones. He says it was a sharp blow to learn his band room had been broken into. "I wasn't prepared to walk in the door and see chairs spread all out and cords lying everywhere, it was tough."
Jones says in the days after the theft, he learned the true meaning of the Ashbrook family of students and staff. Jones said students came together to call pawn shops across the county to warn owners to be on the lookout for the pricey instruments.
Last Friday, police say Peggy Gunter tried to pawn the same instruments at a Gaston County pawn shop. The store owner recognized the valuable trumpets and called Ashbrook's Band Director. "It was a neat feeling having it in my hands again," Jones said after being reunited with his horns.
Gunter has also been charged with obtaining property by false pretenses because, police say, the other goods stolen from the Ashbrook band room were also in her possession.