Rock Island Theater in need of community’s help after thousands worth of equipment stolen

Published: Nov. 28, 2019 at 6:44 PM CST
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Longtime Rock Island theater company 'Genesius Guild' says thousands of dollars in equipment has been stolen from them. They believe it was done by someone familiar with the theater industry.

It was recently that Andrew Shearouse, one of the board members with Genesius Guild, remembered walking inside their locked storage room and noticing something was not right.

“Things we thought that was just moved, somewhere else in the building, to give them room to work were actually completely gone,” he said.

As he looked around, he noticed, a portion of their equipment that they use to put on plays at Lincoln Park in Rock Island was missing.

“So, you know there's usually a stack of ladders coming up to here. It was a pretty obvious hole. You could see yeah, there should be something here and there definitely isn't,” he said.

The theater group that's been putting on free plays for 64 seasons says they believe the theft happened in late October because everything was there when they last checked on things in September.

“Locks on the doors, we are not sure how they got in. We don't see any forced entry,” said Doug Tschopp, Executive Director of Genesius Guild.

The missing items include tools, wiring, and ladders. All items they say they need.

“That somebody would come in and take every tool that we own and make it really hard to put theater on for the following summer,” said Tschopp.

As they wait for leads from police. They still are not sure why certain items were taken.

“Some of the things that they took. Like there was a box of theater lamps. They’re specialty lamps, they're only used in theater fixtures,” said Tschopp.

They now are turning to the community for help.

“As they always say in theater, the show must go on. We are going to put shows on. We do free theater every summer out here,” said Tschopp.

The theater group says the items stolen add up to $15,000 to 20,000. Financially, the group is struggling since funding for the arts in Illinois was cut. Anyone with information is asked to call Rock Island police.