After van vandalized in St. Louis, Texas band promises to return – and give back

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ST. LOUIS – A music band whose van was vandalized while touring through St. Louis not only plans to return to the Gateway City, it wants to give back.

You might think a break-in and theft would deter Texas-based Austin Meade from coming back. But the band’s namesake says that’s not the case.

“We get robbed and our life goes on,” Meade said. “But if we can go back to the area and help somebody out … that would be a better outcome than me ever being able to a replace laptop, you know?”

Meade’s laptop, money, and other personal belongings were stolen July 7 in the middle of the afternoon outside the Sunrise Chinese Restaurant on Washington Avenue, in midtown St. Louis.

The group was picking up carryout.

“It took about three minutes and then we came outside and – and we had been robbed. We came outside and realized that there had been bags missing,” Meade said.

Meade said a flathead tool was used to break the lock on the van. The thieves grabbed the valuables and left. They did not steal guitars or any of the other instruments.

Meade said he was well aware of tour vans being broken into and had even inserted a motion detector in the vehicle as a safety measure. But the detector did not pick up on any movement.

The band was able to perform as planned that evening at Off Broadway. However, the experience as crime victims was unnerving.

“We still played the show and everything, and made it home in one piece. And it was a great show. That was the first time we’d been caught off guard like that by thieves anywhere in the country,” Meade said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the band get back on its feet. The group hopes to raise $5,000.

The group hopes people will give. Because it, too, plans to give back.

Anything raised above the $5,000 mark will be used toward helping people in St. Louis.

“We’re trying to partner up with a local drug rehab clinic,” Meade explained.

Meade hopes his band’s gesture will inspire others to give.

And despite the sour note left by the experience he promises a St. Louis return.

“Obviously we’d like to come back and play soon. Because everyone I met there, except for the people who took our stuff, are really amazing.”