ST. PAUL, Ind. -- A widow hopes someone will help her find her husband's prized guitar, after it was stolen and sold to a pawn shop.
Walker "Buck" Maulden lived for music, playing lead guitar in various bands on his weekends for decades. In 2015, Maulden learned he had an aggressive form of cancer, which his wife Mary said quickly took his life.
"He was an awesome musician. Awesome," Mary Maulden said.
Maulden's pain is still raw, especially because earlier this year prosecutors charged her nephew, Robert Harden, with theft. Maulden said she let Harden watch her home while she worked out of state, and he stole four of her late husband's guitars and sold them to a pawn shop.
According to court documents, Harden sold the guitars to Dash for Cash in downtown Greensburg, where the owner produced paperwork which linked him to the sale. Harden later pleaded guilty to theft charges and received probation.
Investigators recovered two of the guitars, but the pawn shop had already sold the other two, one of which Maulden said was her husband's prized possession.
"He didn't play it a lot anymore because he wanted to preserve it and (hoped) someday that one of his grandchildren would play guitar and pass it down," Maulden said.
The guitar is a vintage 1957 Gibson hollow body, and it's a fairly rare model. Harden told officers he sold it for just $100.
Maulden said she's unsure who bought it and how much it cost, since the pawn shop told her it did not have any records to help trace the guitar.
"I bought that for him when we first got together and we were married for 35 years," Maulden said.
An employee at Dash for Cash told FOX59 he could not comment on the case due to issues of legality.
Greg Engstrom, President of the Indiana Pawnbrokers Association, explained that while the pawnbrokers industry is heavily regulated, laws are focused on records relating to people who pawn items, not people who buy them.
"It’s just a shame this happened in this instance. I don’t know an easy fix to solve this one particular issue," Engstrom said.
Maulden hoped that by getting the story out there, someone might recognize the guitar and come forward. She said she was willing to pay whatever they paid the pawn shop to buy it back.
"If they would just contact me and let me know, I won’t ask any questions. I’d just like to get it back," Maulden said.
If you know anything about the guitar, contact FOX59's Jill Glavan at email@example.com.