Stolen gun returned to victim 43 years later

MikeGunner / Pixabay

A lot has happened in Bobby Hicks’ life since that evening in 1978 when someone broke into his home and stole his Browning Hi-Power pistol. Already an established fiddler with decades of experience by that time, Hicks would go on to win multiple Grammy awards and be inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame for his work as a session and touring musician. Despite that incredible career and a lifetime of memories, however, Hicks never forgot the sinking feeling he had when he realized that someone had broken into his home and stolen the handgun.

Amazingly, however, Hicks was recently reunited with his long-lost firearm after it was discovered in a pawn shop in Greensboro, North Carolina.

On April 15, Sheriff Buddy Harwood presented Bobby Hicks with the pistol Hicks lost in 1978 in Greensboro. Hicks is a Marshall resident and former fiddle player with bluegrass music titan Bill Monroe.

Harwood returned the handgun, a Browning Hi-Power .9mm short cartridge, after a detective with the Greensboro Police Department called him and told him of the finding.

The gun was identified in a pawn shop in Greensboro, according to Harwood.

“Bobby called and said, ‘Can you help me get this gun back? I don’t want to drive to Greensboro,’” Harwood said. “So I called Greensboro (PD) evidence section, and they said, ‘Sure, Sheriff. We’ll get you the gun.’”

According to Harwood, when he called the GPD office to arrange meeting up to have the gun transported back to Madison County, he urged the staff receptionist to explore some of Hicks’ playing, as she was unfamiliar with him.

“The woman answered the phone, and I said, ‘You haven’t heard of Bobby Hicks? Why don’t you Google him. He’s got 10 Grammys. He’s got them up in his house holding his doors open,’” Harwood said. “She said, ‘I’ll mail you that gun, Sheriff.’ So I got it in (April 14). You talk about a legend getting a legend back. This gun was made in the 1930s.”

The sheriff says that the gun only has a resale value of between $600-700, which seems a little low to me, especially with the gun’s backstory. For Hicks, however, the return of his pistol is priceless, especially since he never did figure out who stole it from him in the first place.

“I had two full-grown Doberman pinchers in my house,” Hicks said. “It was one of the older houses, where the bottom-half of the back door is wood, the top half is glass. They broke that window, and one of my Dobermans had glass all in his fur. So it had to be somebody that I knew, that knew those dogs, because they would have ate him up.”

Hicks says he originally bought the handgun from a dance hall patron in Reno, Nevada who “needed a drink but didn’t have any money.” The fiddler forked over twenty bucks and put the gun in his pocket, while the seller presumably enjoyed an evening of liquid refreshment with his newfound cash.

The money’s long been spent, but now, after nearly 44 years Bobby Hicks has his gun back. The bluegrass legend says it’s now secured in a safe, and I just hope he at least had a chance to put a few rounds through it before it was tucked away for safekeeping.