Thief pepper-sprays a violin store

A thief made off with four violins yesterday after spraying a store assistant with pepper as she showed him an incident.

The incident took place at Fein Violins in St Paul, Minn.

Three of the violins bear an Andrew Fein label.

Report here.


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  • Many years ago someone attempted to rob an upscale watch store in Beverly Hills but was shot dead by the owner. I was at the scene within 30 minutes after it happened.The disturbing thing is that when the authorities brought out the body bag, Asian tourists were laughing because they thought it was a movie set with all the media around. Reporters were yelling at them trying to explain that it was no joke.

    The point is that eventually a thug like this will pick the wrong shop.

    • Read the article. Its a surveillance photo. The black dude is the thief, the woman is the clerk who got pepper sprayed. What a dumb criminal (and maybe a smart clerk) to be positioned for a full body photo).

    • I find it very revealing that while there’s no caption describing the image posted you’ve already made up your mind of who in the photo is the suspect and who is the victim. Says a lot about you too!

    • He stands out.

      No matter what you think he could be doing in a violin shop: player, maker, seller, repairer… OK, except as security guard.

      Just like he’ll stand out wherever he goes to try to sell the violins.

      I would panic if he walked into my shop with 4 violin cases under his arms, the first thing I’d think is, what is he carrying in those cases.

      And if that Asian clerk had the same instinct of self-preservation as I, she would not be suffering from pepper spray burns today.

  • The headline of the story (Norman’s “report here”) about the theft:

    “Police are looking for a man who entered Fein Violins on Saturday afternoon, pepper sprayed an employee and stole four instruments before leaving in a car.”

    If you read the story, you will see “man” and “he” mentioned a number of times.

  • Fein is a very respected shop in the upper Midwest.

    My wife had a violin stolen years ago – a fairly decent one — and it was found in a nearby dumpster. As the thieves who heisted the Lipinski Strad (using a taser gun) learned, yes, fine violins can have incredible value (including those made by names that few would recognize, unlike Stradivari) but only under the controlled circumstances that the insular musical instrument selling world exists in. In the more everyday world trying to just wander around and sell a violin, even the greatest, to someone is like trying to sell a used toothbrush.

    I’ll wager the police are looking at pawnshops and dumpsters. I hope the fiddles are found, unharmed. The thief can rot in hell.

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