PALMETTO -- It wasn’t a brand-new Toshiba laptop, but to 17-year-old musician Jacob Leonard of Palmetto, it meant everything.
In a folder on the computer’s desktop were nearly 20 hours of rock, jazz and other original music Jacob had created on his guitar, piano or drums since the sixth grade.
Jacob, a senior at Riverview High in Sarasota, had not backed up the music on CDs or flash drives.
Sometime between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, while no one was home, thieves ransacked the Riverside Drive-area Palmetto home of Jacob, his mother Cindy Calvert and her husband, Peter, grabbing the laptop as part of a $70,000 heist, Cindy Calvert said.
“They took anything that was worth anything,” she said. “All of my jewelry is gone. All of our computers are gone. They cleaned out every room. They pulled out all the drawers in my desk. It looks like they took our garbage can and pillow cases and loaded everything into them.”
Hardest hit was Jacob, who not only lost his musical compositions, but a transparent blue Les Paul “blue-fade, plus top,” guitar, an arctic white Fender “Jazz” bass guitar and a red Gibson SG epiphone bass guitar.
The suspect or suspects also took his Fender “Rumble” 150-watt amp.
Jacob is pleading with the perpetrators to copy his audio file on a flash drive and return it to him anonymously, through Crimestoppers.
“If they won’t return everything they can at least call Crimestoppers at 866-634-8477 and leave word where Jacob could pick up his music,” said Lt. Scott Tyler of the Palmetto Police Department.
“I had that laptop since the sixth grade,” Jacob said. “It has the greatest value to me. It’s snapshots of my past, things I cannot recreate.”
Although the Palmetto Police Department hasn’t made an arrest in the burglary, it put several detectives on the case and they are running down suspects and checking local pawn shops to see if the items pop up, Tyler said.
“This is the first day-time burglary we have had in that area for quite some time,” said Tyler, who added that the area was hit with a rash of daytime burglaries a year ago and several were arrested and now incarcerated.
These thieves were bold, staying inside the Calvert home for a long time, Tyler said.
Cindy Calvert said the family will now look into a monitored security system with video surveillance, which is one measure police recommend.
“We like people to record the serial numbers of all their valuables,” Tyler said. “If it doesn’t have a serial number, put your driver license number and the state where it was issued on the item, never your social security number.”