A guitar stolen from country star George Jones 46 years ago in Texas is being returned to him by a man who says he bought it and tried repeatedly to give it back.
The acoustic Martin-000 is being returned to him by Larry Berry of Chandler, Texas, who said he bought it for $10 from two boys in his Fort Worth, Texas, apartment complex in 1962.
Berry said Wednesday he’s been trying to reach Jones since the 1960s to return it, and finally got through this year.
“George is stunned, really happy,” said Susan Nadler, a spokeswoman for the singer.
She and Berry said Jones is to get the instrument back June 14 when he performs in Bossier City, La., and Berry attends the show and makes the presentation.
“It’ll be a big relief,” Berry, a retired oil man, said by telephone. “I’ve written letters for years and called recording studios trying to find him. You can’t believe how hard it’s been.”
The guitar was stolen from a Fort Worth nightclub where Jones was performing in 1962. Berry said the two boys asked $25 for it, but he offered $10 and they accepted. He quoted the youths as telling him later that it had been stolen.
The guitar’s strap had Jones’ name on it with streaks of “White Lightning,” one of his hit songs.
Berry said he gave it to his father for about seven months, then kept it himself the rest of the years while trying to track down the singer.
“It’s in excellent shape,” he said.
Finally, Berry enlisted the help of Tom Perryman of Tyler, Texas, a veteran broadcaster who helped him reach Jones in Nashville in February.
“He’ll be very happy to get it back,” Nadler said. “It was one of his first guitars.”