King County prosecutors have charged two suspects in connection with the theft of a legendary drum kit owned by "YES" drummer Alan White.
He played the "Plastic Ono Band" Ludwig drums during the recording of John Lennon's "Imagine." The drum kit that was stolen out of White’s storage unit in March has still not been found. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer died at his home in Newcastle on May 26. Police would like to find the stolen drums to return to his widow.
'YES' drummer Alan White playing Ludwig drum kit before it was stolen on March 24, 2022
Chad Briner and Fredrick Estes Jr., who is also known as "Shadow" have both been charged with Burglary in the Second Degree and two counts of Residential Burglary. They have felony warrants for their arrest. Submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers or call 911 if you know where deputies can find them.
In probable cause documents submitted to the prosecutor’s office, Newcastle Police Det. Brittany Burtner detailed all of the work done on the case so far.
On March 27, deputies responded to a 911 call about a break-in at a home in Newcastle owned by Gigi and Alan White and found Briner sleeping downstairs on a couch. During questioning, he admitted that he broke into the home and had been living there for three days. He told them he found paperwork in the house with the security code for Heated Storage on 132nd Place SE in Newcastle.
Briner said he shared that information with an acquaintance who goes by the name "Shadow" who was later identified as Fredrick Estes Jr. Briner told deputies that he and Estes Jr. went to the storage unit, used the code to get into the building, cut off the locks and stole musical items. They went back the following morning and stole more items, placing them in a white Chevy truck with a camper that Estes Jr. was driving.
On March 28, Newcastle Police Department Chief Jason Houck located the white truck and camper in Federal Way. Estes Jr. spotted Houck’s unmarked vehicle, made a U-turn and started speeding away in a reckless manner. As he did, a triple-platinum record from RIAA for the "90215" album that belongs to White flew off the vehicle and landed on the road. Houck lost sight of the truck but retrieved the stolen record and plaque.
On April 1, Estes Jr. and a woman were arrested after deputies responded to another break-in into the White’s home. During questioning, Estes Jr. claimed he purchased the white truck with the camper from his friend "John John". He admitted to breaking into the storage unit but claimed he got mad at the other accomplices and drove off with all the stolen items, leaving the other guys there. According to the probable cause documents, he told Houck that he stashed the items in an apartment on Airport Way S until he located a buyer. Then, he transferred them into an older white over tan RV in SODO parked across the street at Ruby Chow Park.
Estes Jr. agreed to show Chief Houck where to find the RV owned by a man named "Ivan." Houck located the RV at S. Hardy St. and Stanley Ave S. A silver electronic keyboard was visible on the dashboard with a tag on it with the name "White." Houck obtained a search warrant for the RV and recovered a Ludwig drum case, drum stand and other music equipment but the drum kit was not there. Houck also searched the apartment but didn’t locate the drums.
In addition to his new charges, Briner also has a bench warrant for Assault in the Fourth Degree. Prosecutors say in that case, he walked onto private property, refused to leave and assaulted the victim.
Estes Jr. currently has two pending cases in King County Superior Court for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree and for Theft in the First Degree. Additionally, he has five recent felony convictions for Assault 3 – Substantial Pain, Burglary in the Second Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Stolen Vehicle and Malicious Mischief Second Degree.
Neither suspect is in custody. They are scheduled to appear for arraignment on June 29 in room E1201A of the King County Courthouse.
Gigi White sent Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound a check for $10,000 to add to the reward for the return of Alan’s drum kit. If you have any information on where Newcastle police can find it, submit an anonymous tip 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text the info through the P3 Tips App on your cell phone.