‘School of Rock’ guitarist arrested in Florida. Cops say he was stealing guitars

A man who, as a child, starred in the band in the movie “School of Rock” has been arrested multiple times in Florida after investigators say he stole guitars and other equipment from music stores.

Joseph S. Gaydos, 27, was being held in the Manatee County jail without bond on Wednesday, after he was arrested Feb. 11 on a felony charge of theft.

He was also arrested for similar incidents in Sarasota and Charlotte counties and faces felony larceny and theft charges, court records show.

Gaydos was one of several children who starred alongside Jack Black in the 2003 film “School of Rock.”

According to his IMDB profile, Gaydos, who played “Zack” in the film, started playing guitar when he was 3 years old.

Gaydos was arrested in Manatee County on Feb. 11 after deputies were called to the Sam Ash Music store on North Tamiami Trail, near Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

There, Gaydos had asked a clerk to see a guitar, specifically a $1,899.99 Gibson Les Paul gold top. Gaydos was taken to a room where he could test the guitar, but shortly after he walked out of the store holding the guitar and got into his car, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Store employees blocked Gaydos’ car so he could not leave until deputies arrived. Deputies told Gaydos they would be detaining him, but he allegedly replied, “I need to be arrested, I stole the guitar,” according to the affidavit.

Joey Gaydo_fitted.jpeg
Joseph S. Gaydos, 27, of Punta Gorda, is being held in Manatee County jail without bond on a felony charge of theft. Manatee County Sheriff's Office

Court records show he reported using medication not prescribed to him two days before he was arrested. Gaydos was charged with felony theft and remains in jail.

Gaydos was also arrested in Sarasota County after similar incidents were reported in Venice and North Port.

On Feb. 7, Venice police got a report that a black Fender Stratocaster guitar, valued at $699, was reported stolen. Video surveillance reportedly showed a man walking into the store, looking at and testing other guitars before walking to the back of the store with the Fender and leaving through a side door.

Detectives learned Gaydos pawned the Fender in Fort Myers, according to the affidavit.

Gaydos allegedly admitted to stealing the guitar and blamed his criminal activity on his drug addiction, according to Sarasota County court records.

North Port police received a similar report of a stolen Les Paul Epiphone Prophecy guitar valued at $800 on Jan. 31 from a local music shop, according to an affidavit.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office notified North Port police the stolen guitar was at a Fort Myers pawn shop and identified Gaydos as the person who pawned the guitar.

An affidavit also noted that Gaydos was a suspect in an amplifier theft, and allegedly confessed, in Charlotte County.

Gaydos has pleaded not guilty to charges in Manatee and Sarasota counties, court records show.

Manatee County court records indicated Gaydos also had a DUI conviction in 2009.

Sara Nealeigh covers what’s happening in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto, Florida for the Bradenton Herald. She previously covered breaking news for the Herald after moving to Florida from Ohio in 2016.