Dozens of instruments have been stolen from North Carolina Central University's marching band.
The thefts are threatening the band's scheduled trip to the annual Battle of the Bands showcase in Atlanta. The high-profile competition is January 26.
University band director Jorim Reid said 14 sousaphones and several other instruments were taken from locker rooms during at least two thefts dating back to November.
The loss of sousaphones, in particular, is a blow to a 180-member band. It relies heavily on the large brass instruments, and there are only 16 sousaphone players in the band.
Reid said it wasn't immediately apparent that the instruments were missing because the sousaphone cases were left behind.
Reid said he doesn't know what the band's going to do.