Someone just strolled into a Hard Rock Cafe and walked out with Eddie Van Halen’s $100k Frankenstrat

Eddie Van Halen donating a similar Frankenstrat to New York's Hard Rock Cafe in 1995.

Eddie Van Halen donating a similar Frankenstrat to New York's Hard Rock Cafe in 1995. (Image credit: Forrest Anderson/Liaison/Getty)

UPDATE: According to a report from KENS 5, the guitar has now been returned, after a member of the public found the instrument discarded near the city's River Walk and brought it in to the Cafe.

Original story

Anyone who’s been into a Hard Rock Cafe has gazed longingly at the artist-played gear on the wall, but visitors tend to refrain from actually taking anything home - apart from one patron at the San Antonio, Texas branch, who made off with an Eddie Van Halen Frankenstrat valued at $100,000.

In the evening of Thursday 16 November, the thief strolled into the Cafe via a side door, grabbed the guitar off the wall and walked straight out, according to My San Antonio.

Authorities are now searching for the suspect and the hugely valuable guitar, which could prove tricky, given nobody witnessed the theft or even noticed it missing until one employee clocked its absence while closing up shop at 1am.

The guitar is one of several Frankenstrats custom-made for Eddie throughout his career, and was signed and donated to the restaurant in 2004.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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