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Tracing Tracy Territory

Wild week for music store’s sign

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Main Street Music sign

Main Street Music employee Robert Moreno (left) and store owner Ken Cefalo hold the store’s sign, which had been partially blown down by the wind Feb. 13. After turning up missing, it was amazingly returned three days later.

The sign that has been hanging in recent years in front of Main Street Music is back safely inside the West 10th Street store, but it had a highly unusual, circuitous journey getting there.

The story of the sign’s journey has many twists and turns, and, according to Main Street’s owner, Ken Cefalo, more than a few surprises — and chuckles — along the way.

It all started Wednesday morning, Feb. 13, when high winds descended on Tracy. Those winds unhinged the sign from one of two hooks holding it, causing the sign to dangle at an angle from the overhang in front of the music store.

Ken said he didn’t want the sign to fall down completely and hurt someone, so he and store employee Robert Moreno took it down and propped it up against the wall near the store’s entrance.

“Well, we left it out there, just leaning against the wall,” Ken said. “We didn’t worry about it, since it was off the sidewalk near the store entrance.”

Three days later, when Ken and staffers opened the store at 10 o’clock Saturday morning, Moreno told him, “Hey, someone took our sign. I left it out there. I’m sorry, it’s gone.”

Ken said that as he and Moreno were talking about the missing sign, a woman walked into the store and reported that she had thought she had saved the sign the night before.

“I saw a guy, who looked like he had been drinking, pick up the sign and start walking away,” she told Ken. “I yelled at the guy and chased him all the way down the street over to the Ten-Bee Village parking lot. I told him, ‘This is Tracy, and you don’t steal things in this town.’”

She marched the guy back to the music store. He put the sign down where he had found it.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. When Ken told the woman who had come into the store that the sign was still missing, she said, “That guy” — though she used more graphic language — “must have come back and taken it again.”

Just then, as Ken and the woman walked outside to see where the sign had been propped, an SUV pulled up in front of the store. A man got out — holding the Main Street Music sign.

“I’m really sorry. I took your sign,” he told Ken.

The woman looked at him and said, ‘You’re the guy that took the sign!”

He said, “I know. I am the person who took it. You’re the woman who chased me. I had too many drinks. I guess I thought I was back in high school again. I’m really sorry.”

Ken said he was amazed about the coincidence of the person who had taken the sign and the woman who had chased him down the street both happening to show up at the store at the same time that Saturday morning.

“By this time, I was laughing so much, I didn’t have much to say, other than ‘thank you’ to a really nice guy who was so embarrassed,” Ken said.

Ken also thanked the woman who had felt so strongly about the sign being taken that she gave chase. And there was more. She had been accompanied to the store that morning by two friends, who said they could make him a new sign.

“That woman was wonderful. She and her two friends were so great to care about my sign,” Ken said. “Only in Tracy.”

Whenever he does get a new sign, I think Ken should also keep the old one — in a safe place. After all, it has historic value, as an artifact of “The Great Sign Heist of 2019.”

Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at

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