Suspects wanted in the theft of Alan White’s Ludwig Battery, still missing


Fredrick Estes Jr (left) and Chad Briner (right).

King County prosecutors have charged two suspects with the theft of a legendary battery belonging to “YES” drummer Alan White.

He played Ludwig “Plastic Ono Band” drums while recording John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The battery that was stolen from White’s storage unit in March has still not been found. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer died at his home in Newcastle on May 26. The police would like to find the stolen drums to return them to his widow.

“YES” drummer Alan White playing Ludwig drums before it was robbed on March 24, 2022

Chad Briner and Fredrick Estes Jr., also known as “Shadow,” have both been charged with second-degree burglary and two counts of residential burglary. They have felony warrants against them. Submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers or call 911 if you know where deputies can find them.

In probable cause documents submitted to the prosecutor’s office, Newcastle Police Det. Brittany Burtner detailed all the work done on the case so far.

On March 27, deputies responded to a 911 call about a break-in at a Newcastle home owned by Gigi and Alan White and found Briner asleep on a couch downstairs. During questioning, he admitted breaking into the house and living there for three days. He told them he had found papers in the house with the security code for heated storage at 132nd Place SE in Newcastle.

Briner said he shared this information with an acquaintance who goes by the name “Shadow”, who was later identified as Fredrick Estes Jr. Briner told deputies that he and Estes Jr. went to the unit of storage, had used the code to enter the building, cut locks and steal musical items. They returned the next morning and stole more items, putting them in a white Chevy truck with an RV that Estes Jr. was driving.

RELATED: Help the police identify the suspects accused of stealing the battery used in the recording of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’

On March 28, Newcastle Police Department Chief Jason Houck located the white truck and camper van at Federal Way. Estes Jr. spotted Houck’s unmarked vehicle, turned around, and began accelerating recklessly. As he did, a triple RIAA platinum record for the album “90215” which belongs to White flew out of the vehicle and landed on the road. Houck lost sight of the truck but recovered the stolen disc and plate.

On April 1, Estes Jr. and a woman were arrested after deputies responded to another break-in at the white people’s home. During interrogation, Estes Jr. claimed to have purchased the white truck with the motorhome from his friend “John John”. He admitted to breaking into the storage unit, but claimed he got mad at the other accomplices and left with all the stolen items, leaving the other guys there. According to probable cause documents, he told Houck he hid the items in an apartment on Airport Way S until he found a buyer. Then he transferred them to an old white-on-beige RV at SODO parked across the street in Ruby Chow Park.

Estes Jr. agreed to show Chief Houck where to find the RV belonging to a man named “Ivan”. Houck located the motorhome at S. Hardy St. and Stanley Ave S. A silver electronic keypad was visible on the dash with a label bearing the name “White”. Houck obtained a search warrant for the motorhome and recovered a Ludwig drum case, drum stand, and other musical equipment, but the drums were not there. Houck also searched the apartment but did not locate the drums.

In addition to his new charges, Briner also has a warrant for fourth-degree assault. Prosecutors say in this case he entered private property, refused to leave and assaulted the victim.

Estes Jr. currently has two cases pending in King County Superior Court for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and first-degree robbery. Additionally, he was recently convicted of assault 3 – substantial pain, second degree burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, and second degree malicious mischief.

None of the suspects are in custody. They are due to appear for arraignment June 29 in room E1201A of the King County Courthouse.

Gigi White sent Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound a check for $10,000 to add to the reward for Alan’s drum return. If you have any information on where Newcastle Police can find him, submit an anonymous tip to 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text the information through the P3 Tips app on your cell phone.


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