High school marching bands across Southern California—from Los Angeles to Manhattan Beach—have had their tubas stolen, and their music directors think they know why.
There’s a banda bandit on the loose in Los Angeles.
“The band is driven by the tuba and the drummer,” Bill Roper, a professional tuba player explains to the Associated Press. “The tuba serves the time function and the bass function, and the rest of the band can’t exist without that.”
There’s no real evidence of who is stealing the tubas but many of them are disappearing from high schools in Latino communities across Southern California.
At Huntington Park High School, two tubas have gone missing. In Compton, someone took eight tubas from Centennial High School. In Bell, where one in five people live in poverty, two tubas have gone missing.
“I don’t think anyone would go through all the trouble to break locks, break in and explicitly take tubas just to break them down,” Ruben Gonzalez, the music teacher at South Gate High School, which has lost five tubas, told the AP. “They’re worth a lot more money on the black market than they are if you melt them down. It’s just a question of where are they selling them, here or out of state or in Mexico.”
South Gate High has been the target of two break-ins since September. The school has lost five of its eight tubas, at a value of up to $30,000.