The Black Lillies’ Van, Gear Stolen Outside Houston Hotel
Americana group the Black Lillies were the victims of a major theft while staying at a hotel in Houston, Texas, on Sunday night (Jan. 24).
According to a Facebook post from the band, at about 2:30AM local time, their white 2011 Ford E350 van and 2016 Lark trailer were stolen from the parking lot of a Quality Inn near the Houston Airport. In addition to being the band's tour transportation, the trailer contained much of their gear and merch.
The band had played a show in Conroe, Texas, on Sunday night. The van and trailer were parked "right in front [of the hotel], in a well-lit area in view of the front door," according to Chyna Brackeen, from the band's management company. Brackeen explains that security footage from the hotel shows a black SUV pulling up near the van and trailer, "and within less than two minutes they had managed to break in and drive the van away." The band discovered the theft at around 6AM, when they were getting ready to leave the hotel.
Around noon ET on Tuesday (Jan. 26), the band relayed some good news: Their van has been recovered by a Houston-area towing company, after being abandoned on the side of the road. However, their trailer and its contents are still missing.
Brackeen estimates that, in addition to the value of the van and trailer themselves, about $70,000 worth of items was stolen. The Black Lillies have an insurance policy on the van, as well as an instrument policy, but neither will cover merch, personal items and select gear.
"There's a big gap between what was lost and what will be covered," Brackeen explains.
On Facebook, the group has posted a list of the items stolen, as well as photos. While the ideal situation would be that the stolen items are recovered, fans have stepped up to help raise money to cover the losses; as of 11AM ET on Tuesday, more than $33,000 has been raised.
"... [I]n the midst of the stress and uncertainty, we've been shown so much love and support. From venues who are calling to offer us gigs, to musicians calling to offer us gear, to people literally offering us the clothes off of their backs, to members of the media from all over the country who are calling to ask what more they can do to spread the word, to friends, fans, strangers donating money to help with the gap between what the insurance will cover and what was lost ... every email, tweet, call, post, smoke signal is showing us the beauty that is out there," the Black Lilles say on Facebook. "We will never be able to tell you what it means to us. Just know that you're getting us through this, and we love you for it. Thank you."
The Black Lillies released their latest album, Hard to Please, in the fall of 2015.