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Accused Harry Manx Guitar Thief was Convicted of Similar Crime at Midway

By Erin Meyer | February 26, 2014 2:06pm | Updated on February 26, 2014 3:37pm
 Anthony Hargrove (r.) is accused of stealing a rare guitar belonging to Harry Manx, a Canadian blues singer.
Anthony Hargrove (r.) is accused of stealing a rare guitar belonging to Harry Manx, a Canadian blues singer.
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James Green/Getty Images and Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A man arrested for snatching a rare guitar from O'Hare's baggage claim has a history of ripping off luggage as well as convictions for more serious crimes, according to prosecutors and court documents. 

Anthony Hargrove, 60, is accused of stealing Canadian bluesman Harry Manx's "rare instrument" last week. But he was already on parole for a similar theft from Chicago Midway International Airport, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

A Cook County judge ordered Hargrove held on $250,000 bail Wednesday on four counts of felony theft when he appeared briefly in court.

Prosecutors did not give additional details on the case at Midway. However, according to court records, Hargrove pleaded guilty to theft in 2012 and was sentenced to four years in prison, but was released last April. He also has past convictions for robbery and rape, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The heist of Manx's instrument — described as part-guitar, part sitar — occurred Friday morning when Manx was waiting for it to travel around the carousel in Terminal 2 at O'Hare, prosecutors said. 

He spotted it, according to police. But a split second later it was gone.

Hargrove was allegedly captured on surveillance video taking the guitar case from the carousel and then taking it on the CTA Blue Line.

Police tracked Hargrove down and found the guitar after he allegedly returned to the O'Hare baggage claim to steal more luggage three days later, Scaduto said. But plainclothes police were there watching at the time.

Police announced charges Tuesday, hours after Manx shared on social media that his guitar had been located.

"My Veena Has Been Found!" the musician proclaimed in a Facebook post.

In his latest Facebook post, Manx said that the man arrested "eventually gave up the location of the instrument and it was recovered."

Manx, who lives on Salt Spring Island off the Western coast of Canada, said he plans to return to Chicago next Tuesday to pick it up. 

"There’s no way for me to express the gratitude I have to everyone for helping out, but I would like to say that the generous outpouring of support has uplifted my spirits and renewed my faith in the kindness of strangers," he said.

On Monday, he said his original Facebook post announcing the theft had since been seen by 5.3 million people, and that he had received 5,000 Facebook messages.

Manx said in an interview with DNAinfo Chicago late Monday that police told him earlier that day that they had arrested a man in connection with the theft Friday. The man was suspected in other thefts at O'Hare, Manx said. However, at that time the instrument, which he had handmade in India two decades ago, had not been located.