DOCUMENT: Celebrity, Crime

"School Of Rock" Star Jailed For Axe Theft Spree

Suspect blamed heroin addiction for thievery

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School Of Theft

MARCH 5--The lead guitarist from the film “School of Rock” is facing felony charges after allegedly stealing and pawning guitars in a multi-county theft spree that the suspect blamed on a drug addiction problem, records show.

Joseph Gaydos is a defendant in four separate grand theft cases filed in connection with his boosting last month of instruments in Florida’s Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.

Gaydos, 27, appeared opposite Jack Black in 2003’s “School of Rock.” He portrayed Zack Mooneyham, a grade school prodigy shredding on a Gibson Flying V.

According to investigators, Gaydos, who resides in Punta Gorda, stole an $800 Les Paul Epiphone guitar from North Port Music on January 31. After playing the instrument for a few minutes, Gaydos “got up and ran out of the door with the guitar.” Within two hours, Gaydos sold the instrument for $200 to a Fort Myers pawn shop.

On February 7, Gaydos allegedly walked out of Troll Music in Venice with a $699 Fender Stratocaster. Gaydos had been “testing guitars on the sales floor,” cops say, before he exited the business through a side door, hot guitar in hand 

On February 11, Gaydos’s father contacted police to report that his son had stolen a pair of amplifiers from the family’s residence. The elder Gaydos said that his son had admitted to pawning the amps (which he valued at a combined $2100). “Joey has stolen items from the house in the past,” cops noted, but his parents “were trying to help him due to his heroin addiction and did not report the past incidents.”

On the same day his father spoke with police, Gaydos attempted to steal a $1900 Gibson Les Paul guitar from a Sam Ash music store in neighboring Manatee County.

After playing the guitar inside a practice room, Gaydos walked out of the front door with the instrument and attempted to flee in his car. Sam Ash personnel, however, “were able to block him in” until police arrived. When confronted by a sheriff’s deputy, Gaydos reportedly said, “I need to be arrested, I stole the guitar.”

When detectives questioned Gaydos about the amplifier thefts, he reportedly confessed, saying he was “ready for this day and needed to make amends and receive assistance with a severe Heroin/Fentanyl addiction.” Gaydos, cops say, also admitted to two other thefts. He copped to stealing a D’Angelico guitar from a Guitar Center in Sarasota and a Gibson SG from a Guitar Center in Fort Myers.

Gaydos, who says he has been a self-employed musician for 19 years, is being held without bond in the Manatee County jail.

Gaydos’s rap sheet includes a 2009 conviction for drunk driving. He was also arrested in 2016 for drug possession, but that case was dismissed. Both prior busts occurred in Michigan, where Gaydos grew up. (6 pages)