desperately tried to replace his stolen vintage guitars before his upcoming tour -- dropping big money on near-identical replicas last Thursday ... the same day they were swiped from an L.A. soundstage.
The tour kicks off today -- and we're told Tom was freaked he wouldn't have suitable guitars in time ... so he got in touch with a rare guitar shop in L.A. as soon as he discovered his prized instruments were missing.
According to sources, Petty purchased a white Gibson SG and a blonde Rickenbacker -- the same models as two of the guitars that were stolen.
Luckily, the guitar catastrophe has narrowly been averted -- because as we first reported ... law enforcement recovered the stolen guitars
So far, we're told there are no plans to return the extra guitars.
A collection of five vintage guitars belonging to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
-- worth untold thousands -- has been recovered by law enforcement ... after they were stolen last week.
The Culver City PD tells us, one man has been arrested in connection with the theft. The instruments have yet to be returned to the band.
The guitars -- a 1967 12-string Rickenbacker, a Gibson SG TV Junior, a Fender Broadcaster, a 1967 Epiphone Sheridan, and a blue Dusenberg -- were swiped from a Culver City soundstage in L.A. where Petty had been rehearsing.
Tom took to Twitter after the theft to help recover the missing guitars -- offering a $7,500 reward ... no questions asked.
Tom's people had no comment.3:15 PM PT
: A rep for Culver Studios -- where the guitars were stolen -- tells TMZ, the suspect who was arrested did not work for the studio, but for an independent contractor. The rep adds, "We feel a real sense of responsibility for everything that happens on our lot and we have conveyed our profound apologies to Mr. Petty for the distress this incident has caused him.”