US alert: A ring of violin thieves is on the prowl

US alert: A ring of violin thieves is on the prowl


norman lebrecht

June 10, 2015

Message from the Violin Society of America:

We have just been notified by VSA and Federation member John Montgomery that an organized violin theft ring is operating in the Southeast US. The criminals have been moving violins between the Atlanta area, Nashville and Raleigh, and may be branching further afield now.

One thief, “Steve Sincere”, was arrested yesterday in VSA/Federation member Pablo Alfaro’s Atlanta area shop, however there are two remaining individuals at large: “Gary Crouse”, age 61, 5’ 10” tall, 185 lbs., Caucasian; and “Edward Fields”, 40’s, 5’11” tall, heavy-set, African-American; both men claim to be from Atlanta. “Fields” is well-dressed in a suit, steals the violins and hides them under his suit coat, and then travels to other shops to sell the violins. Thus far the ring has stolen instruments from Atlanta Violins and Ron Sachs’ Atlanta area violin shop, and presumably began operating in April or earlier.

John Montgomery has confirmed that these men are not ‘violin-people’, and he first saw “Gary Crouse” in his Raleigh shop on April 24th, followed by “Edward Fields” on May 21st and again yesterday afternoon, after “Fields” had been in Nashville that morning.

John gave the names of three violins stolen by the ring to alert you to:
Landolfi label violin
“Lawrence Lamay” violin, circa 1977
“Angelo Marin” violin, circa 2006

If either of these men come into your shop, call the Police and if you can try to stall them safely until the police arrive.

Please distribute this information to as many people as possible.

Lori Kirr
VSA President

strad stolen