Fw: The Str8 Stuff on James HarmAn
Fri Sep 3 14:28:00 EDT 2004
This letter from James Harman to a person who was questioning his losses was posted on another list. Given some of the conversation on Blues-L about the theft and whether or not it was an "inside job", I thought I'd share it with you.
> First, please note the spelling: it's HarmAn, it's Dutch.. it was Van Harmaan until
> the guy at the gate told my grandfather his new name was Harman.
> HarmOn is French, far more common, thank you. A word to the wise is
> sufficient, they tell me. Thank you for your interest, please tell anybody you told your
> new story, knowing the details you now know.
> Thank you,
> "First, I want to appreicate you are trying to help... I think. If you
> are trying to accuse me of stealing my own stuff for insurance or
> something like that, please stop now. you have cleverly worded this
> but it's not hard to see through. Listen my man... I had no insurance
> on any of this stuff and was just plain stupid for leaving it all
> there too long. Bad planning, is my only crime here. Like you said,
> you don't know me... this is not my style! When I tell you I was
> burglarized, that's what happened. I will now attempt to explain all
> the parts of this story that you didn't have a chance at. Please give
> me a listen and a quick comeback, if you would.
> All those notices and stolen item lists, that went out from blues-internet-
> chat-room-type-well-wishers, so quickly, are filled with mistakes. I am
> only now trying to get everybody up to speed on the truths. The fact is I was
> not hit at my Orange County home, like they all state. The empty San
> Fernando Valley duplex, where this burglary took place, had always
> been an occupied dwelling, up until a number of months ago. The bad
> guys were obviously watching and saw that people had stopped coming
> and going in a daily pattern. They saw that the people were only
> dropping by every couple of weeks and not coming back every night,
> anymore. When they saw the family dog had left the property and was
> never in the yard at all... they must have figured nobody lived there
> anymore. They waited quite a few months! But, being thieves at heart,
> they finally decided to take their chance. They cut the chain link
> fence, peeled it back and went in, knowing they could make the fence
> look un-molested from drive-by distance. It's an old, run down spot,
> that is changing into an industrial area. There is a restaurant on
> one side and a truck parking lot on the other, where other homes once
> stood. Not knowing what was inside, they first took time to steal
> both the rusty old bikes laying in the yard.
> Then they took a considerable amount of time to bag up and take
> all the tons of aluminum cans and glass bottles in the
> recycling bins in the back yard. Finally, who knows how many days later...
> they broke out a window and went inside to see what was worth
> stealing. Probably hoping for good-quick sale TV's, VCR's and DVD
> players. They found my old guns, while wrecking the place looking for
> whatever else might be there. They threw all the clothes & shoes, from
> the closets, onto the floor as they look around. They took all the
> jewelry, clocks, watches, and kitchen items... none of this is in the
> blues-guy reports, because none of the blues-website-folks have read
> the police reports or knew about anything except guitars & records.
> Do you see the difference now? When they finally broke into the back
> apt. and went through into the next series of rooms. They found my records,
> all boxed up, in the middle of the room, ready for my next move, just
> like I stupidly left them. They took only the packed up & taped,
> numbered boxes of 45's & LP's, leaving a fortune in pre-war & post-
> war 78's... which were just too damn heavy to carry out, I guess.
> Some of those are worth hundreds, even thousands each! I have many
> one of one or ten known copies of very rare jazz and blues records.
> this has been my life's work and passion. They may have spent several
> nights loading all those record boxes out into trucks or cars... it
> took me several nights to put them in there, I know that. Then they
> broke into the inner sanctum, back bedroom and found a locked closet.
> Upon breaking that door off.... they finally discovered the eight old
> instruments, I had hidden there. These were a few special, odd ones I
> was going to keep... Magic Sam's white strat, my ES 5 prototype, my
> personal home guitar L48 Gibson, my record room ax Stella, the Supro
> Resophonic Kid plays on so many of my albums... they were the ones
> that meant something to me. The rest of my instruments are already in
> the hands of a few friends who are selling them for me on eBay. Why
> would I hide valuable things in an old house in a bad neighborhood?
> Good question...(can you say ex-wife and lawyers?). This was a shot
> in the dark, these bums hit the chance burglary jackpot of this
> century. I'm just devastated! This shit was my only retirement plan.
> I've been in the music business for 42 years, since 1962, this is all
> I had to live on in the "last set"... I've got no insurance, I'm
> wiped out. I've never owned a house, and now I probably never will ,
> that was my house these bastards took. OK! My only hope is: if an
> attempted sale of a recognizable rare guitar, leads police to where
> my records are. I can only pray they have not split them up, since
> they most assuredly don't know a Five Keys "Red Sails in the Sunset"
> on Aladdin and Score, from Wee Willie Wayne's "Travelin' Mood"
> from "Moanin' in the Moonlight" on Modern or "Go to Sleep" by Howlin'
> Wolf on a silver top-Chess. Once my records hit eBay etc. Hey... mine
> look just like yours. Out of my hand lettered sleeves, mine look like
> the other guy's! I'm dead! All those damn Blue Note albums, shit!
> Those Sun and Trumpet 45's... damn I know it was a fluke... I messed
> up hiding them there after my people moved out. I made a mistake, but
> I've got to keep hoping, man. But trust me....this was not an inside
> job. I don't know about your age you mentioned, but I'm 58... way too
> old to make this blunder. That smell you're smelling is just your
> natural "good detective mind" coming into play. If I had read the
> internet reports, as you did, I might also be thinkin' like you. I'd
> rather have you on my side. The many facts that got left out and not
> really known, by all those blues-internet-good-folks, are the clues
> you didn't know either. I hope you understand better now. I blew it,
> by leaving my stuff there, mid-transfer to somewhere else. I'm so
> busy flying in & out playing festivals, in 18 countries, that I just
> had not gotten to that big moving job yet! I have not played more
> than a few local gigs out here in the past three years. There is no
> scene here anymore. The most I get is three events per year. All my
> work is flying out. The only times I get to play a gig out here is
> the acoustic duo & trio stuff I do from time to time, that's for
> music not much money. I got hit by very lucky neighborhood creeps.
> I'm gonna make another assumption now. I'm gonna assume you are who
> you say you are, and not the crooks yourself, checkin' in on me!!
> I'll just figure they are not internet friendly.... and not reading
> this. I will ask you only one thing, can you please rectify what
> you've been telling people... I don't deserve any of that
> negative crap. Any real help will be appreicated, but this is not the
> professional job you described. I don't mind looking stupid to those
> who know the whole story but I don't need everybody thinking I'm part
> of a rigged phony self-theft deal, or anything funny like that. I see
> you have a website, you are a performer too, gimmie a break man, I'm
> really hurtin' down here. I'll never make the next few years without
> my records to finally get to listen to. My whole collection has been
> in hiding for years over lawsuits and ex-wives... My dream was to
> sell enough old instruments to get out of here and afford a house
> back home, to live it out listening to my beloved records. How much
> longer can I lift my big 260 lb dumb, diabetes-riddled-ass, in and
> out of vans?
> Thank you,
> James Harman"
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