Florida Keys

There was discord aboard a houseboat, then a splash. The guitar won’t be the same

Wendy Sue Crocker
Wendy Sue Crocker

After going to sea, a collectible guitar may have sounded its last chord of C.

A woman tossed the guitar, described by owner Thomas Neville as a “rare Takamine lawsuit” model, into the water at Smuggler’s Cove Marina, off Snake Creek in Islamorada, during a loud argument aboard a docked houseboat Nov. 21, a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office report says.

Neville jumped into the basin to recover the guitar and its case, but told Deputy Joel Rios that saltwater caused “extensive” damage to the instrument’s face. The guitar, which the owner estimated to be worth more than $2,000, would never sound the same, he said.

The houseboat tenant, who was letting Neville stay aboard, “saw 2 inches of water in the guitar case when Mr. Neville opened it up,” the deputy reported.

Wendy Sue Crocker, 48, of Islamorada was arrested Jan. 9 on warrants from the November incident, charging her with felony criminal mischief in addition to counts of domestic battery and violating a court injunction . With no fixed address, Crocker remained in Monroe County custody earlier this week under bonds totaling $16,000.

Crocker reportedly admitted throwing the guitar overboard, but told the deputy it was after Neville knocked her keys from her hand and into the water. The witness said after the two argued, Neville tossed her keys to her, but they bounced off the deck into the water.

The term “lawsuit guitars” refers to high-quality instruments produced in Asia during the 1970s that closely mimicked the style of popular U.S. instruments, according to Reverb.com and other online sites.