Monroe's first mandolin smashed by vandals

GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. -- Vandals with an apparent grudge against Grand Ole Opry star Bill Monroe broke into his home, poked holes in a picture of the entertainer and smashed his first mandolin, police said Thursday.

Monroe, 73, known as the father of Bluegrass music, was 'deeply shaken' by the vandalism, which happened Wednesday afternoon while he and his wife were away from home, Sumner County detective James Mandrell said.


The vandals used a fire poker to destroy Monroe's first instrument and another mandolin along with a 14-by-16-inch picture of the singer. The instruments were valued at $100,000, but Mandrell said Monroe's first mandolin was of 'untold sentimental value.'

'Everything that was damaged or destroyed was something that he cherished a whole lot,' Mandrell said.

He said investigators believe the vandals had a grudge against Monroe because they took nothing from the home.

'Whoever did it, aimed it directly at him,' Mandrell said. 'He didn't have any idea who might have done it.'

The detective said several people had been questioned in the investigation but declined to elaborate.

The vandals entered the home on Monroe's 244-acre farm by prying open a door and went to a second-story room where the instruments were kept in a case.


They struck the mandolins with the poker and took down a picture of Monroe 'and beat it full of holes. A big picture of his brother right beside it was not bothered at all,' Mandrell said.

Monroe, a native of Rosine, Ky., was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970. He has been a professional entertainer since the 1920s.

Monroe's first instrument was given to him by his uncle Pen Vandiver, a famed mandolin player. Later, Monroe immortalized 'Uncle Pen' in a song.

Latest Headlines