It took more than 36 years, but some important keepsakes taken from Patti Smith were returned to her over the weekend by a fan. The items, which included the gauzy shirt she wore on her iconic 1978 Rolling Stone cover, were likely stolen about a year after the issue hit stands.
According to Chicago Tribune, Smith was at Dominican University to discuss her new memoir, M Train, when Noreen Bender approached Smith to return her decades-long missing belongings. The missing items also included a piece of cloth given to the singer from her late brother and road manager Todd Smith, who passed away in 1994. Bender said an unnamed male friend, who worked for U-Haul at the time, gave her and her roommate Smith’s missing possessions decades ago, which they divvied up between them.
“I just thought, ‘Oh my god, these are her clothes and they still have sweat on them,'” she told the paper.
Smith’s stolen items may be connected to a Ryder truck theft that occurred in June 1979, after Smith and her band played a concert at Chicago’s Aragon. At the time, the truck, which was carrying $40,000 in amplifiers, guitars and other musical equipment used by the group, was stolen outside of a hotel.
Bender told Chicago Tribune she had been waiting for the right moment to return Smith’s belongings. “The feeling of making your hero happy, it was a moment,” Bender said. “It was the highlight of my life.”