Joel Crouse’s Home Was Burglarized — Now He Wants to Help the Guy Who Stole His Stuff
In the early morning hours on Monday, August 9, a man broke into the Nashville condo of singer-songwriter Joel Crouse and walked out with a plethora of his belongings.
Crouse was there, but was sound asleep at the time.
"I'm a heavier sleeper than I thought," the 28-year-old admits during an interview with Taste of Country a few days after the chilling incident. "We were going through the footage last night and after he changed into my shoes, he left for 15 minutes and then came back. And I didn't hear a thing."
Footage from Crouse's security cameras shows the man walking into the condo — the door was possibly unlocked — and leaving with a duffel bag full of items, ranging from sunglasses to a toiletry kit to a bicycle. But what riled the country singer up the most was the fact that his buddy Todd Bond's treasured guitar had also been taken.
"The guitar was by the door because I had borrowed it for a gig like a month ago," Crouse explains. "I was literally supposed to bring it back to him Sunday. So, I wake up Monday and it's gone."
Crouse recognized that things were awry in his home within minutes of waking up.
“I was going to go downstairs to get the paper and I couldn’t find my keys," he recalls. "Then I couldn’t find my sunglasses. I was like, where is everything? I finally checked my cameras and I see this guy on the camera footage and I just started panicking. I looked down the hall and I'm like, everything's gone, you know?"
After filing a police report, Crouse turned to social media and his legion of fans to see if they could help in identifying the man on the camera footage. He and Bond also went to downtown Music City to see if they could learn anything from the various members of the homeless community that reside there.
They recognized him immediately.
Per WKRN, the alleged burglar's name is Kirby Naylor, whom Crouse has learned has ties within the Nashville music community — a community that has been rocked by the effects of the pandemic shutdown.
On the day of the burglary, after finding him, Crouse walked more than a mile with Naylor to a parking garage, where he recovered his stolen items.
"I just started talking with the kid and it was clear he's got some issues that he needs to deal with," says Crouse, who found his way onto the country charts with the song "If You Want Some" in 2013. "I was just kind of looking at him, thinking that, 'If I never got my stuff straight in my life, I wonder if I could have ended up like him.'"
His voice drowns off into a whisper, but Crouse, too, has seen his share of hard times since bursting on the music scene years ago. Coincidentally, earlier this year he released an acoustic version of his fan-favorite song "On My Way" to bring awareness to mental health issues.
"While we were waiting for the cops, we just started talking with the dude, and I was just like, 'Man, you just need to get some help, bro,'" Crouse says he told Naylor, who was eventually arrested by Metro Nashville Police. "I was like, 'You're just going to end up getting killed, you're just living to chase the next day, you’re just trying to get that next fix and it's going to kill you.'"
WKRN reports that Naylor has been charged with aggravated burglary, and on August 16, one week after the incident, Crouse will go to court as the state proceeds to potentially press charges. If it were up to Crouse, he would just want to see the man who stole his stuff get some help.
"We're weighing the options of how we can help and if we can help," Crouse says. "It might be out of our hands (pauses). I've had career changes that have made me kind of check out a little bit, myself. If I didn't get the help I needed, who knows where I could have ended up."
"So, it's like, we do want them to go easy on him ..." he continues. "We still must find out what kind of guy this guy is before we can pull the trigger on doing the things we need to do to get him the help he needs. If we can help this person, there is a lot of people willing to help."
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