Thieves target a Valley rhythm and blues legend

FRESNO, Calif.

Ron Thompson is known and touted as having played with all the blues greats. Famous names, who, like him, wouldn't be much without the instruments they depend on.

He played one of the few guitars he's got left for us, one he had to pull out of the shop in order to keep playing gigs and pay the bills.

Thompson added, "It's like being a carpenter and someone stealing your tools, kinds you can't get anymore."

The Hayward resident had just come home from a five night stint of gigs. Usually he'll unload all of his equipment, but this time around he was too tired, so he parked his car and went to bed, only to wake up to find the car, and all of his equipment gone.

He said, "I was in disbelief."

With no instruments and not even a car to get to those gigs Thompson was stuck. Until the Central Valley Blues Society stepped in.

Don Heflin, the society's founder said, "We're like a giant family."

It didn't take long before that "family" drummed up the equipment that Thompson would need to play.

Thompson said, "It makes me want to cry because I appreciate it, it's good, it's really what things are about you know?"

Don Heflin added, "Our intention is to get the word out that if someone is out there trying to sell his equipment, it's going to be recognized."

Some of that missing equipment includes guitars dating back to the 1950's. A keyboard, amplifier and all the necessary cords and wires were also stolen. Many of the items are irreplaceable, but Ron Thompson says it's just another bump in the road of life, one that won't stop the music from playing on.

Thompson explained, "I consider this an adventure not a job."

As for all that equipment he was able to borrow it will be put to good use on Thursday night, where he'll play at Babylon in the Tower District.

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