Stolen Ben Davis trumpet tracked down in Iowa

Austin Perkins has his trumpet back after it was stolen last fall.
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An Indianapolis high school musician has his trumpet back that police say was stolen and pawned along with thousands of dollars worth of school instruments.

The investigation may have helped police uncover even more school thefts.

After several months, Ben Davis tenth grader Austin Perkins has been reunited with his trumpet.

"It was my own possession and for something like this to happen to me, it was, like, shocking," he said.

Perkins' trumpet turned up missing the last day of fall break at Ben Davis. He never thought he'd get it back.

But that wasn't all. Other band equipment, including instruments used in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade, also went missing.

"Several thousands of dollars worth of instruments, trumpets, saxophones, etcetera," said IMPD Det. Brian Hofmeister.

It was quickly becoming a musical "whodunit" - until a pawn shop worker called a repair shop to price a trumpet, the same trumpet stolen from Perkins.

Red flags went up at the school and Hofmeister started digging, uncovering evidence leading him to Jason Neace and Kenneth Reynolds, the school's janitor.

"The janitor set the items by the door and called his buddy to come and pick them up," Hofmeister said.

Security cameras at a pawn shop captured Neace trading school instruments for cash. Hofmeister eventually found Austin's trumpet in Iowa, sold on eBay.

"This is a dream come true, because I really...I just really missed it," Perkins said.

Now, instead of storing it in the music room, Perkins plans to carry his trumpet home every day.

Hofmeister says the one thing that helped Perkins get his trumpet back is knowing the serial number. Perkins' mother is close to making the last payment on the trumpet.

Because of the Ben Davis investigation, police in Merrillville are looking at the two men about stolen school instruments there several years ago.