Thief is targeting violins on the Vienna airport train

Thief is targeting violins on the Vienna airport train


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2018

In the last few days, two violins have been stolen on the train from Vienna airport to the city centre, both late at night.

The first victim was Isabella Wagner. The second has not been identified.

Be especially careful with instruments in Vienna.



  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Apparently, in Vienna, even thieves have good taste?

  • Jaime Herrera says:

    The thief will have no trouble selling them provided they are cheap instruments. If they are pricey (such as a Guadagnini or Strad or Tononi), the thief will not be able to get rid of them. I carry my fiddle under my arm at all times.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Strangely enough, double bass players are practically never robbed from their instrument.

      • Scotty says:

        You would think so. At a jazz concert at a club near my house here in Cologne, during a pause between sets someone took the bass from the stage, carried it through the crowd, and disappeared. Apparently people thought it
        belonged to the thief. And in New York, a colleague realized that he had forgotten his music, drove back to his apartment, double parked, locked his car, and ran upstairs. When he returned five minutes later, his 30,000 dollar bass was gone.

    • Simon Scott says:

      Very prudent. I do likewise.
      However,as regards the fiddle which I generally use no thief will get rich from me.

  • Hilary says:

    This is the equivalent of the Heathrow Express though not such an abominable rip off. There are other fairly swift ways of getting from the airport to Vienna city centre.

    • Allen says:

      You mean it’s subsidised by everyone else?

      • Max Grimm says:

        Heathrow did not become one of the most expensive airports in the entire world (in terms of fees for passengers and airlines, transit/parking costs, prices for shopping and dining, etc.) because it wasn’t “subsidised by everyone else”. Ironically, Britain levies one of the world’s highest air passenger tax on travelers when they fly to/from one of the UK’s airports.
        Comparing non-subsidised or private transportation, prices for transit to/from Heathrow are still 130% – 500% higher than those in Vienna, for comparable travel times and distances.

  • V.Lind says:

    Where are their owners while all this is going on? It can’t be that long a journey; surely they can stay awake for it.

    • Simon Scott says:

      There are tricks in every trade and thievery is no exception.
      However,as indicated above it is always best to not let our instruments out of our sight

  • Ted says:

    A violint criminal. String him up!

  • Paul says:

    I have purchased a “Tile” tracking device for my keys and wallet, but it is not ideal. It tracks the location via bluetooth and only gives you a 30 meter radius of where it is. Although you can make the tile beep to help you find it, the sound is very weak. I also have a similar gps tracker for my checked luggage, “Trakdot”, but that only shows which airport your luggage is near. Could anyone here suggest a better tracking device which could be used to help track a stolen instrument case?
    – Thanks

    • Daniel Auner says:

      Inkutex tk104. In use in my Guadagnini since three years. Comes with two battery packs and works with any sim Card. You call the tracker and receive a sms with coordinates incl. Google maps link and what cell phone tower it is logged in. Can also listen to what’s happening. Great thing for musicians.

  • CYM says:

    Simpler : a long leash attached to the case, or adding a self triggered gun inside case (the Al Capone A-440 model) ?

  • Vadim says:

    one of these violins was left by us on the train. we went to the lost and found office and also to the police. unfortunately there is no result. violin not found.

    • V.Lind says:

      Full marks to you for owning up, though the “we” disturbs me. The number of violinists I have read about on this blog who left their violins on the train or the tube puzzles me; even more when there is more than one person present. Does nobody say, “Got everything?” Whether Strads or made down the road, violins are expensive items — it amazes me constantly to read of the number that are “left.”

  • CYM says:

    There is also the strange story of a famous French violonist whose Strad was ‘mysteriously’ stolen before his divorce settlement and recovered in a telephone booth some time after divorce was settled … Strange, for sure !