‘School of Rock’ star arrested for stealing guitars in multiple Florida counties

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An actor who starred as one of the kids in the 2003 movie “School of Rock” has been arrested for stealing several guitars in multiple Florida counties.

Joseph Gaydos, the actor who played lead guitarist Zack Mooneyham in the movie, is facing charges in Sarasota, Venice and North Port.

According to NBC News, the first theft happened on Jan. 31 at a store in North Port. Gaydos, who is now 27, asked a clerk if he could play an $800 Les Paul Epiphone Prophecy guitar. A police affidavit shows he then left the store without paying, NBC News reports.

One week later, Venice police posted a video to its Facebook page showing a “sticky-fingered bandit” walking through Troll Music and playing a guitar. The man, who has since been identified by Venice police as Gaydos, is seen walking straight out the door while an employee behind the counter is distracted. 

“It was dumfounding that somebody would have the audacity to blatantly walk out of a store with a guitar,” said Troll Music store manager Cliff Randi.


On Feb. 11, Gaydos went to the Sam Ash Music store on North Tamiami Trail, according to an arrest affidavit from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies say Gaydos asked a clerk if he could see a $1,900 Gibson Les Paul gold top guitar and went into a classroom to test it. Shortly after, Gaydos walked out of the store with the guitar, the arrest report says.

Deputies say Gaydos tried to drive away but was blocked in by store personnel who kept him detained until law enforcement arrived. The arrest affidavit shows Gaydos told responding deputies “I need to be arrested, I stole the guitar.”

Gaydos also faces charges in Charlotte County for stealing and pawning off amplifiers from family members. The arrest affadavit states that Gaydos battles heroin addiction.

“Its hilarious and its sad at the same time. For one, hey we had sort of a celebrity here in the store, on the good side. And on the bad side, he stole a guitar from us,” said Randi.

The arrest report provided by Manatee County deputies shows Gaydos with a home address in Punta Gorda and lists his occupation as “musician.”

His IMDb page lists “School of Rock” as his only acting role.

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