Three suspects were apprehended last week by the Phoenix Police Department for stealing guitars belonging to Lamb of God. The instruments were stolen from the band’s trailer while they were setting up for their show with Slayer at the Ak-Chin Amphitheatre on May 2nd. Justin Petersen (34), Michael Blakeslee (51) and William Widener (62), pictured above L to R, are suspected of organizing the heist.
MetalSucks has consulted Maricopa County court records and learned that all three men have a criminal history, in some cases lengthy rap sheets with links to burglary, drugs, weapons, multiple probation violations and more.
Blakeslee has the most extensive record of the three with infractions dating back to 1999 involving nine separate cases. In the 1999 case, his first arrest, he was charged with two counts of misconduct involving weapons, one count of drug paraphernalia possession/use and one count of dangerous drug possession use (linked case documents make mention of methamphetamine). Blakeslee pled guilty to one of the weapons charges and the others were dropped as part of a plea deal, but case documents show Blakeslee violated his probation. Since then, he has faced several drug and paraphernalia possession charges, one theft charge and, in 2010, two counts of burglary second degree, to which he pled guilty to one and was found not guilty by a jury of the other. In a 2013 whopper, he was charged with a DUI, drug possession, driving with a suspended or revoked license and fleeing law enforcement.
Widener has the shortest record of the three suspects. His lone arrest came for a series of drug and paraphernalia possession violations in 2011 and 2012, but he had stayed out of trouble since, until now.
Petersen, the youngest of the group, was charged with “theft of person” in 2009 and pled guilty to a reduced charge. Peterson violated his probation for that plea deal four separate times between 2009 and 2013. On April 30th of this year, Peterson was charged with one count each of dangerous drug possession and paraphernalia possession, and that case is still outstanding: a court appearance is scheduled for June 3rd.
In short: the men who stole Lamb of God’s guitars were hardened criminals who knew what they were doing. Unfortunately the guitars have not yet been recovered, at least as far as we know. Here’s to hoping the instruments make their way back to the band, and Blakeslee, Widener and Petersen make their way back to prison.
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