Must watch: Chilling video of a violin being stolen

Must watch: Chilling video of a violin being stolen


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2014

This is actual security camera footage of a thief coolly planning the theft of a violin in a Utah recital hall.

Watch. Beware. (UPDATE: Outcome here).

 stolen violin1

**Please share this to everyone who might be helpful to the case**

SLCPD Case Number: 2014-802029
University Police Case Number: 14-1327
Stolen Item: Violin
Missing Date: Monday, June 16, 2014, between 12:00 to 12:25 PM
Owner: Donggin (John) Shin

Summary: As interns for the Summer Chamber Music Workshop, some friends and I were assigned to pick up lunch at nearby Subway (1300 E). The time I left my instrument in the Dumke Recital Hall (4th floor, the University of Utah music building) was at 11:40 AM. According to the surveillance cameras, we were able to see the suspect lurking around outside of the hall from about 11:50 PM. Then later the hall camera spots him putting my violin case (violin inside) into a couple of garbage bags at around 12:17 PM. The thief walks down the main stairs around 12:20 PM, exiting the building (the cams are about 20-25 minutes behind the actual-time).

The Instrument: My violin is made by a Salt Lake City luthier, Scott Brown. The label inside the instrument shows the serial number, “No. 26”, the crafted date, “2011”, and also the luthier, “Scott Brown”. The instrument case is “BAM high-tech contoured case” and the material is carbon fiber.

What’s Unique: From the photos, the violin has 3 oval “washed” varnish marks on the front, bottom part of the violin (1 on the left, 2 on the right). Also it has the golden string “adapter” for the ball-end E-strings (Kaplan ‘no-whistle’ string adapter).

The Suspect: According to the footage… Caucasian male, around 6 feet tall, age between 27-35, some facial hair around chin and mouth, short dark hair (brown-ish). average body build. He also makes some random gestures and speaks with himself throughout the footage. He tends to walk with his feet pointing out about 45 degrees in angle. He were an over-sized grey shirt and jeans (check the suspect photos).

Please let me know if you have any information regarding to the suspect or violin.

Thank you,

John Shin –


  • Anonymous says:

    I’m hugely sympathetic to the owner of the violin and I really really hope he gets it back, but what the heck are you doing leaving your violin unattended in a public place for more than 30 seconds, let alone 25 minutes?

  • Barbarona says:

    Security is a terrible problem in venues. We have to greet the audience, take breaks, and need to know our instruments and possessions are secure. It is mostly a matter of trust.