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Pink Floyd, Facebook and a ‘stupid’ mistake: How a York bar got its stolen painting back

A painting of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour hangs in York's Holy Hound Taproom. A bar patron stole the painting over the Thanksgiving weekend but is sending it back. - (Photo / Submitted)

Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was kidnapped from a York bar he shared with the likes of Jerry Garcia and Disco Stu from “The Simpsons.”

But don’t fret; he’s on his way back home.

A customer at Holy Hound Taproom absconded with Gilmour – or rather, a painting of him – over the Thanksgiving weekend, the taproom’s owner said.

The tale of the painting’s return to York ties in themes to which other business owners can likely relate: the power of social media, and concern over customers taking advantage of a nice setting.

The theft happened in the early hours of Nov. 26, when a patron plucked the painting from a back room and slipped out an emergency exit, Holy Hound owner Scott Eden said. No one saw the man take the piece of art, which features a pale, long-haired Gilmour playing his guitar against a splotchy background of blues and browns.

Eden’s wife had given him the painting as an anniversary gift. It was expensive, yes, and it had sentimental value, but that wasn’t what made the theft so upsetting.

The bigger blow, Eden said, was the fact that someone took something from the bar he has worked hard to make a nice place for his patrons. The piece is just one of several celebrity paintings Eden and his wife have bought to create a welcoming atmosphere for the taproom, which offers 30 rotating craft beers on tap and hosts events like live music and story slams.

Holy Hound opened the back room, where the painting hung, about 11 months ago. Even though employees can’t watch the room from behind the bar, no one ever bothered anything in it.

Then David Gilmour disappeared.

Eden told a local police officer about the theft, but his wife, Becca, suggested they conduct their own search by sharing a surveillance photo of the perpetrator, caught in the act, with Holy Hound’s more than 8,400 Facebook fans.

Eden hesitated, not wanting to make too big a deal of the theft, but ultimately agreed.

The post received more than 1,900 shares and 80 comments as of Monday afternoon, the York Daily Record reported, but, initially, no one could identify the man in the image.

The case was finally cracked when Eden found the man’s name from the credit card he had used at the bar that night. Eden posted the name on the Facebook page, and, within two hours, found the man from the footage.

David Gilmour’s kidnapper turned out to be a nice, middle-aged man – and generous tipper – who was in York visiting family and “did something stupid” during a night out on the town, Eden said. He had tried to return the painting the next day, but the bar was closed.

The man apologized when he talked to Eden on the phone and is shipping the painting back.

Eden has no plans to press charges, and, in fact, would be willing to grab a beer with the man when he’s back in town.

He is walking away from the experience with a reaffirmed appreciation for all the Facebook fans who helped track down the thief – and a realization that he might need to find a better way to secure artwork to the taproom’s walls.

“It all worked out,” Eden said. “Social media, it can be bad, but with stuff like this, it’s hard to get away with anything.”

Jennifer Wentz
Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com.

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