LITTLE CANADA, Minn. -- A reward is being offered to help catch a thief who stole a musical instrument worth thousands of dollars from a Twin Cities dance community.
The instrument, a grandfather drum, hand carved in Mexico, belongs to Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, a group devoted to preserving Aztec culture.
The group practiced Saturday at Minnesota Transitions Charter School to prepare for a performance in Sunday's Minneapolis May Day Parade.
To those in the group, the grandfather drum is its central heartbeat.
Jerry Lopez of Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc said, "It's a big loss it's become a very dear part of our community and it's very sacred, very ceremonial."
Lopez said the sacred drum, along with other artifacts, costumes and instruments, are missing after someone stole the trailer in which they were being stored on Tuesday. That trailer is owned by a group called Ce Tempoxcalli, which was storing the items for Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc.
Drummer Ricardo Grijalva said, "It was really hard. I took it very emotionally because that's like losing a person."
That enclosed, unmarked trailer was parked in a parking lot at the Public Storage facility in Little Canada. The parking lot is gated and locked and Lopez said it was chosen because it has a lot of cameras.
He said, "So we're hoping that through video and things like that we'll be able to find out who took the trailer."
Brought out only for special events like last year's Day of the Dead, the drum is sacred because the group had it hand carved from a stump found in Mexico that was hundreds of years old.
Lopez said, "The tree was very old that this came from and the tree fell naturally so the tree has its own history that the drum came from."
And only drummers with the group who have graduated from drumming on a bucket to a regular drum eventually get to play it.
Grijalva said, "I had the privilege to actually drum on it so I kind of got to bond with it."
So while the grandfather drum is valued at $10,000 dollars, to members of Danza Mexica CCuauhtémoc, its priceless because its history and heartbeat has become part of theirs.
Lopez calculated the total value of all items on the trailer to be around $24 thousand dollars.
While the group has insurance, it's unclear if the drum will be covered as it is considered a work of fine art.
If you have any information on the missing drum, please call the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office at 651-266-7320. There is a $1,000 reward.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)