Stolen Pipe from Rick Newcombe – Please Return

UPDATE: May 22, 2011 – Rick’s pipe has been found.

In an email received today – This is great news!!! After a full week of being lost, I had given up hope that this pipe would ever be found. I have tried unsuccessfully to find this message on the link below. Do any of you have contact info for Bruce, such as his last name, email address or phone number? Thanks — my faith in the camaraderie and goodwill of pipe collectors has been restored, and I liked that pipe more than I was willing to admit.

Bruce was sitting on my right at the table, and he was very generous, offering samples of John Cotton’s No. 1 Mild and Cuban cigars. His pipe bag was giant-sized, so I am not surprised that he did not see my pipe until he unloaded each pipe one at a time.

Original story below …

I just received an email from Rick Newcombe, whom many of you know as a prominent collector, and author of the book, "In Search of Pipe Dreams" – that he had a pipe stolen at the Chicago Pipe Show.

It’s almost shocking as pipemen are usually of the highest caliber of character. I know of many people, including myself that will leave their pipe, or pipe bag on the table and roam around the smoking tent in Chicago, and it’s always there when you come back. I actually did leave my bag with 5 Dunhill pipes in it sitting at a table where I started, all the way on the other side of the room, while I roamed and chatted for hours, and when I returned it was still there.

There is so much camaraderie at pipe shows, and it seems like everybody knows everybody, so there is a lot of well-deserved trust.

Unfortunately, one person let their desire get the best of them and did the wrong thing.

Here is the only photo of the pipe that was stolen. Rick’s email with more details is below.

For this first time in my life, I had a pipe stolen at a show. It was the Jeff Gracik freehand shown above with a "butterscotch contrast" stain. I love the fact that it was stamped 540 11 in case the thief tries to stain the pipe black or a different color and then offer it for sale. I am sending this email to you because you are familiar with high grade pipes and are likely to spot this one in case someone is offering it.

I was smoking the pipe while seated at the judges’ table during the Balkan Sobranie Throwdown in the tent. Several people (I don’t remember who) commented on the pipe, saying they really liked it. After the banquet dinner, I was back in the tent seated with friends who I totally trust. I put the pipe on top of its leather sleeve on the table because a pipe maker (Dave Neeve) asked to see it. He is totally trustworthy. The pipe was passed around the table; I left to get a drink and ran into a thousand friends and did not discover it was missing until I was in my room shortly after midnight. I ran back to the tent, and the same group was still at the table. Everyone checked to see if they mistakenly put the pipe in their bag — no luck — and I got down on all fours and searched the ground, but no pipe. Both the sleeve and pipe were taken. Someone must have come over to the table for a brief moment and grabbed it. How? I have no idea, but I feel confident that at some point they will try to sell it.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

If found, the pipe can be returned to:

Rick Newcombe
5777 W. Century Blvd.
Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90045

10 Responses

  • It’s always very sad to think that anyone would stoop so low as to steal something that does not belong to them. I’m am very sorry this happened to Mr. Newcombe. That said, I am frankly surprised these things don’t happen more often. I am a member of the CORPS and always have a table at our Expo’s here in Richmond. Naturally there are the many usual pipe and tobacco people that are in attendance at all of the shows that take place nationwide and these folks we know, love and respect and rest easy in the knowledge they are honorable men and women and would never do us harm. We of this ilk come to the shows to admire, buy, sell and trade the many beautiful art objects on display, but NEVER in a million years would we think of stealing someone else’s beloved property. On the other end of the spectrum, there are many individuals who attend our shows who are not high of character and will steal from us at the first opportunity. These are the folks we must be ever watchful over. If we are in the habit of leaving our property laying around and unattended, then we must realize that a theft such as what happened to Mr. Newcombe can and in all likelyhood WILL take place sooner or later. I hope Mr. Newcombe’s lovely pipe will turn up and be returned to him soon.

  • Discouraging, deplorable news. If this was a theft, I hope the pangs of conscience haunt this disreputable fellow; and may he never enjoy the fruits of his reprehensible crime. Perhaps Rick’s home owner’s insurance will cover some of the loss.

  • If that beautiful work of art was stolen, I wish upon the thief, and only the thief, that when they smoke it: for it to smoke so horrendously that his/her lungs collapse, nose falls off and eyes pop out of their head. Then they will be easy to find, and they will never experience the wonder and pleasure of smoking another pipe for the short time they have left on this rock. Death to tyrants, because they are just thieves of freedom…
    I will keep my eyes open.

  • If there were webcams or other videos taken, perhaps the culprit was caught on film, so to speak; and others can identify him/her. I urge everyone who took photos and videos to look for some shred of evidence, perhaps sending a copy to Mr. Newcombe in an attempt to reconstruct the event.

  • Gee, I have just never heard of pipesmokers being thieves! It is hard for me to come to grips with that thought. I do hope Mr. Newcombe finds his beautiful pipe and is able to bring charges against the perpetrator. I also think he is right that the pipe will turn up on eBay or CraigsList. Pipesmokers should keep an eye out on those two outlets for this pipe. I am very sorry to learn that someone would do walk off with a priceless piece of pipe art and break a sacred trust. Unbelievable!

  • I think this is now two years running that an attendee had a pipe stolen. This kind of instance could make attendees uncomfortable trusting and hoping they receive trust.
    Suspicion is a poison one can survive just in small doses.

  • Just so everyone knows, Rick has his pipe back. It wasn’t stolen. Someone sitting next to him accidentally put it away and didn’t realize it until he got home and he sent it to Rick right away.
    Speaking of which, we still have someone’s Paolo Becker in a brown pipe/tobacco bag that was left in our hospitality room on Thursday or Friday. If it’s yours please contact us! We’ve mentioned it in the newsletter and let the club know, but haven’t been able to reunite it with its owner yet…