'School of Rock' Child Actor Joey Gaydos Jr. Arrested on 4 Felonies for Stealing Guitars

School of Rock star Joey Gaydos Jr. was arrested in Florida last month for allegedly stealing several expensive guitars.

Gaydos Jr. is best known for playing lead guitarist Zack Mooneyham in Jack Black's seminal rock and roll movie. According to a report by TMZ, the former child actor is facing felony charges for larceny and grand theft. Police believe he stole guitars from retailers on four different occasions in the course of five weeks, as well as one amplifier.

The 27-year-old actor's alleged technique was simple. Police say he walked into music stores and asked to test out expensive guitars, as if he meant to buy them. Instead, he would simply walk out of the store quickly with the instrument without paying. This reportedly worked with the amplifier as well.

Gaydos Jr. would then bring the equipment to pawn shops and swap them for cash, according to police. The former child star made off with some extravagant instruments, including a blue Les Paul Epiphone prophecy valued at $800, a black Fender Stratocaster valued at $699 and even a Gibson Les Paul gold top valued at $1,900.

The police say that after his arrest on Feb. 14, Gaydos Jr. confessed to all four thefts. The actor reportedly said that he was suffering from a drug problem and had reached the point of desperation. However, when he arrived in court, he pleaded not guilty to stealing the guitars. He has yet to enter a plea in the case of the amp.

Though he played a central role in School of Rock, it was the only movie Gaydos Jr. ever acted in. Following its massive success, he made numerous TV appearances, including a Saturday Night Live skit with Jack Black and an appearance on The Sharon Osbourne Show. Gaydos Jr. even played with the School of Rock cast as the musical guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, all within 2003, the year that the movie came out.

In 2005, Gaydso also appeared as himself in a made-for-TV documentary called The 100 Greatest Family Films, speaking about the lasting impact of School of Rock.


Rather than acting as he grew older, Gaydos Jr. focused on music itself. The young guitarist had been playing since the age of three according to his IMDb bio, and he was more interested in playing on stage than on screen. Gaydos Jr. went on to find success back home in the Detroit, Michigan area. He played with a few bands, including Stereo Jane. In 2006, he put out a studio album titled On Display under the name Joey Gaydos Group.

Gaydos Jr. has had issues with substance abuse in the past, however. According to a report by Consequences of Sound, the actor was charged with driving under the influence in 2009, while underage. The legal hiccup threw a wrench into his career. Little else is known about his life in the years since.