State Music Icon Retrieves ‘Legendary’ Gun From Greensboro Police – 43 Years Later | News
GREENSBORO – A legend has found his “legend”.
Forty three years. That’s how long ago a beloved Browning 9mm was stolen from North Carolina music icon Bobby Hicks, who was living in Greensboro at the time.
It was 1978. The gun was old and Hicks was a young man, a fiddler who toured with bluegrass music titan Bill Monroe.
Not long ago, a Greensboro police detective informed Hicks that the Browning had been found in a pawn shop. It was not surprising. Manufactured in the 1930s, the gun was worth hundreds and due to its age it was certain to raise eyebrows if anyone tried to sell it.
“Bobby called and said, ‘Can you help me get this gun? I don’t want to drive to Greensboro,'” said Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood. “So I called the Greensboro evidence section and they said, ‘Sure, sheriff. We will get you the weapon.
According to Harwood, when he called to have the gun transported to Madison County, he urged the receptionist to explore some of Hicks’ games.
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“The woman answered the phone and I said, ‘You haven’t heard of Bobby Hicks? Why not google it. He has 10 Grammys. He has them in his house keeping his doors open,” Harwood recalled. “She said, ‘I’ll mail this gun to you, Sheriff.’ You’re talking about a legend reclaiming a legend. This gun was made in the 1930s.”
While 43 years might seem like a long time to some, it wasn’t long enough for Hicks to forget about the incident.
“I never forget anything that someone stole from me,” Hicks said. “I had it on the headboard of my bed. Whoever took it knew where it was. It was the only thing I was missing.”
While authorities never found who broke into Hicks’ home, the musician said he suspected it was robbed by someone close to him.
“I had two adult Dobermann Pinschers 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 Dobermanns had glass in his fur. So it had to be someone I knew, who knew those dogs, because they would have eaten him.
According to Harwood, the gun has a resale value of around $600.
Hicks said he bought it much cheaper than that.
“I bought it for $20,” recalls the winner. “I was playing at a dance hall in Reno, Nevada. This guy was in there, and he was an alcoholic. He needed a drink, and he had no money. But he had this gun I didn’t know he had it until he offered it to me for whatever I wanted to give him, I gave him a $20 bill and put it in my pocket.
Harwood said the nearly 44-year period between the theft and his return speaks to the meticulous records of the firearms law enforcement uses.
“It was in 1978 that his house was broken into,” Harwood said. “Someone has kept a good hot file all these years because you have to validate them every 30 to 60 days. When you register a firearm, it is registered in what is called a hot file. Someone keeps good records in Greensboro.
With the gun in his possession, Hicks said he would return to his safe with his other guns.
Hicks said his animals would deter any potential intruders if someone tried to take it back from him again.
“I have three dogs at home now,” he said.
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