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The Word Alive’s Telle Smith Addresses Backlash Over How Band Recovered Stolen Gear

The Word Alive’s Telle Smith Addresses Backlash Over How Band Recovered Stolen Gear

The Word Alive singer Telle Smith has responded to criticism about how the metalcore band handled recovering their stolen gear while on tour this week.

On Monday (Nov. 29), Smith shared the story, including photos, of how the group affably approached and bartered with the alleged culprits for the safe return of their musical equipment after it was stolen in Michigan.

Using an AirTag tracking device — the same way indie rockers Citizen recently retrieved a stolen van and trailer — The Word Alive located their stolen gear themselves. The Fearless Records rockers then arranged a trade with the purported thieves, giving them "weed, some whiskey and $20 as a peace offering," Smith explained on Monday, for handing over their stuff.

Replying to backlash about how the band retrieved the gear, Smith clarified on Tuesday (Nov. 30) that the group had notified police, but officers never arrived.

He said, "To anybody confused: Yes we called cops, no they didn't care nor did they come. We had to leave out of state to continue tour. We knew approaching them non-aggressively was smarter, we tried to make the most of a bad situation in hopes of getting our belongings and staying safe."

Smith added that the thieves "aren't our friends, they thought we were by the end and wanted a photo. Knew this would be one of the most ridiculous stories ever but shit. Glad we handled our own shit and everyone got out safely, that's all I care about."

With technology available to touring artists to allow this kind of resolution, it seems a more nuanced approach to retrieving stolen gear is now an option.

"Thank god [lighting designer] @Philthelightguy had air tags," Smith said on Monday.

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