"We were busy creating an enclave here and were planning to live here the rest of our lives," he said of himself and Howe, 71. "But now, we may have to move."
Thomas said the two stringed instruments, both used in the couple's frequent Hawaiian music performances and events, were stolen during the day on Sept. 3 while he and Howe were attending a workshop in Sonoma County. An alarm system was triggered but the thieves were not deterred, he said.
"When the alarm system went off, they grabbed whatever they could," Thomas said. "It just happened to be her two most prized possessions."
Anyone with information may contact Thomas at 707-567-2171. A reward for information leading to the instruments' recovery has been posted.
Since the theft, Thomas said he has visited "about 60" pawn shops and music stores in the North Bay, East Bay, Napa, Fairfield, Suisun City and Marin -- all with no luck.
A black pickup truck was reported in the neighborhood and is suspected of being the thieves' vehicle. However, a check of the license plate number came back with it as stolen, so it did not provide clues to the thieves' identities, Thomas said.
The classic Yamaha acoustic guitar was purchased by Howe in Yokohama during a worldwide journey in 1965. It has travel stickers all over it, and is "irreplaceable," Thomas said. The ukelele has similar significance.
"She (Howe) played it every day," Thomas said of the ukelele.
He said he has distributed circulars all over the Bay Area. Several TV and radio stations and the Vallejo Times Herald newspaper have also reported on the theft.
Dozens of friends from the Bay Area Hawaiian community network have been offering support and help, Thomas added.
"You see the worst of society when something like this happens," he said. "Then you see the best of society when all these people come forward, trying to help.