BELL, Calif. — When thieves broke into the high school music room here this week, they cut through the bolts on all the storage lockers and ripped two doors off their frames. But they didn’t touch the computer or the projector or even the trumpets.
“It was strictly a tuba raid,” said Rolph Janssen, an assistant principal.
Bell High School is only the most recent victim in a string of tuba thefts from music departments. In the last few months, dozens of brass sousaphones — tubas often used in marching bands — were taken from schools in Southern California.
Though the police have not made any arrests, music teachers say the thefts are motivated by the growing popularity of banda, a traditional Mexican music form in which tubas play a dominant role.
I don’t want to make light of crime, particularly the theft of valuable instruments from schools that cannot afford replacements.
On the other hand, there is something refreshing about an instrument like the tuba becoming so valued to perform music in this nation that people will resort to crime to acquire one. Could a wave of oboe-based crime be next?