Musician who plays gigs free of charge has all nine guitars stolen

Lopaka Brown
Lopaka Brown
Amy Jones
Amy Jones

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WEST LOCH (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii musician, who plays gigs for charities free of charge, is asking for the public's help after burglars stole all nine of his guitars.

Music is not only Lopaka Brown's passion, it's his therapy. The Vietnam veteran, who battled alcoholism and post traumatic stress disorder, found joy in entertaining.

"The Vietnam thing was heavy on me," Brown said. "The music kept my life going."

But last Friday, the music stopped. Someone broke into Brown's West Loch home and stole his nine guitars, including a Taylor Dreadnaught given to him by a woman who once watched him perform at the Ilikai Hotel.

"I was playing this Yamaha guitar that, if I was going to play in a different key, I would have to tune it flat," he said while laughing. "So she bought that for me in 1997 and I had it ever since."

Under a Veterans Affairs program called Independent Living, Brown was able to build a small recording studio in his home. He cuts demos for up-and-coming musicians at no cost to them. He also performs for various groups free of charge.

"I just ask them, you know, whatever you can afford, just make a donation to a veterans organization because this equipment was from the VA," he said.

But now, his guitars are gone.

Instead of mixing music, Brown was in his studio Monday creating fliers to distribute to pawn shops. His wife couldn't hold back the tears.

"He's got some gigs coming up for some charitable organizations and he doesn't have not one guitar left to play," Amy Jones, victim's wife, said through tears.

Brown is heart-broken. He says the guitars were like his children.

"My journeys throughout the world and meeting a lot of nice people humbled me," he said. "I'm not really angry. I'm hurt."

A laptop computer and a cell phone were also stolen.

If you have any information about this case, call Honolulu police.

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