Stolen van puts damper on heavy metal band’s Tampa Bay tour

April 6th, 2015 by Staff

An unidentified man drove away from a Clearwater gas station with Dark Sermon's van.


(WFLA.COM) CLEARWATER, Fla. – A Tampa Bay area heavy metal band was all set to go on your – but someone stole the members’ 15-passenger van.

On Saturday Dark Sermon begins a 70-city tour starting in Jacksonville and hitting towns across America, including Charleston, Austin and Las Vegas. Dark Sermon’s guitarist took the band’s Dodge Ram van to a Clearwater Shell station to get a starting problem fixed.

Someone else drove off with the van. The thief is caught in surveillance video. He told the mechanic he’d come to pick up the van, got the keys and drove off.

News Channel 8 showed the video to Dark Sermon lead singer Johnny Crowder. “He doesn’t look like anyone I’ve ever seen,” Crowder said about the thief. “That takes some guts to just walk into somewhere and be like, ‘That’s my van,’ and think that you’re not gonna get caught.”

The stolen van is putting a wrench in the band’s tour plans. “The only way we can get our gear from show to show is in a van so tomorrow we have to take an SUV and our trailer to the show,” Crowder said. “(The van is) your best friend on tour. It’s the only thing that’s gonna save you. We’ve slept in that thing and we’ve left the country in that thing,” Crowder said.

8 On Your Side went to the Shell gas station to find out what happened. With the camera off, the owner of “Len’s Shell” allowed News Channel 8 to see his security camera video and talk to the mechanic who gave up the keys.     

That mechanic said he realizes now he made a mistake. He let the man drive off because no work had been done on the van and there wasn’t a bill.

The employees at the Shell station are working with their insurance company to make things right.

Everyone is hoping the security video leads to an arrest and the return of the van.


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