Stolen Guitar Autographed by Pearl Jam for Teen With Brain Tumor Recovered Without Signatures

Courtesy Everett Collection

Two men have been arrested in Vermont on charges of stealing several items, including a 1972 Fender Telecaster electric guitar from which they sanded off the autographs.

Police in Vermont say a stolen 1972 Fender Telecaster electric guitar autographed by members of Pearl Jam for a teenager with a brain tumor has been recovered -- but the signatures are gone.

The Burlington Free Press reported that two men have been jailed on charges of possession of stolen property. Police say the autographs were sanded off.

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Ben Hardy said his ailing brother, Josh, received the guitar autographed by members of Pearl Jam in October 1992 in Seattle during a trip arranged by the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Josh died three months later at the family's home in Durham, N.H.

The guitar and other items were taken from Hardy's home between Thanksgiving and Dec. 5 while he was away. Following media coverage of the thefts, police received tips from the public and obtained search warrants for both suspects' homes Sunday morning.

Arrested were 25-year-old Jeffrey Leduc and 51-year-old Timothy Crews, both of Burlington.

All of the stolen items were recovered; the guitar, which had been damaged in addition to the autographs being removed, was found at Crews' apartment.

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Hardy said on his Facebook page that police are holding on to the guitar to aid in the prosecution of the case. He also thanked those who had offered their support.

"It's an amazing ending to quite the ordeal," he wrote. "There is no question that all the positivity and hope generated through this network played a big role in the guitar's return."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.