LAWNDALE — Canadian bluesman Harry Manx was nothing short of triumphant Tuesday afternoon after he was reunited with his one-of-a-kind guitar that had been lifted from the baggage claim at O'Hare Airport.
Manx was all smiles at the Chicago Police Department's West Side warehouse, 1011 S. Homan Ave., where his Mohan veena guitar was returned to him.
"It's great," he said as he thanked police.
Manx estimates the value of the guitar at $10,000. He had it made 20 years ago for less than $100 while he trained with Grammy-winning Hindustani classical musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, but it's impossible to replace. He's played it every day since, he said.
"I've made my career on it," he said. "You can't have it remade; it's too unique."
Anthony Hargrove, 59, of the 1500 block of West Garfield Boulevard, has been charged in connection with the theft, which happened last month as Manx passed through O'Hare on his way to play two shows in Wisconsin.
Manx wrote about the loss of his guitar on his Facebook page — a post which eventually was seen by about 5.5 million people after 80,000 people shared it with friends. Another 1 million people saw news of his guitar's recovery, he added.
"I let it go at one point. I couldn't keep grieving about it," he said. "Maybe there was something in letting it go that brought it back to me."
Manx said the outpouring of support from Chicago was "overwhelming" in the best possible way, including residents who offered to help him look for the guitar and then the police who retrieved his instrument in little more than a week.
Manx said he's now happy to be reunited with an instrument that he "felt [he] would never see again" as he checked Veena's tone and strings in preparation for a plane ride to Vancouver Wednesday morning.
"It's a little out of tune, though," he added.