A violin theft with a happy ending

A violin theft with a happy ending


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2023

The cellist Alison Moncrieff-Kelly was one of the judges at Sevenoaks Young Musician of the Year in southeast England three months ago.

During the competition, she tells slippedisc.com, one of the contestants had her violin, valued at £10,000, stolen from her parents’ car.

The distress of all involved can only be imagined.

Yesterday, Kent Police arrested two men in their mid-30s on suspicion of multiple thefts from vehicles. Both were remanded in custody. The violin was recovered from a specialist store in Oxford and has been reunited with its youthful owner.


  • Jennifer Hillman says:

    Simple good news, no sleaze, efficient police -what more could we want?

  • Oliver says:

    I don’t want to be negative, as this is great news, but the lesson is : please don’t leave any musical instrument in your unattended car.

    • Herr Forkenspoon says:

      Years ago, I retuned from a gig and was too tired (lazy) to remove my drums from the car. You know the rest of the story.

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Good news–but please, do not leave valuables in parked cars!

  • Robert says:

    Here’s another…
    Some years ago the lead cellist of the LA Symphony Orchestra got home one night after a concert and left the cello he was playing in the porch. This was a Strad cello, priceless possession of the orchestra, which the principal cellist gets to play.
    A casual thief took it and opened the case a few yards along the road. Finding a boring bit of old wood he left it on the pavement where it was found by a nurse. She took it home and asked her boyfriend to cut into the front to make a storage space for their CDs. Just as he was about to start the boyfriend heard an SOS message about the stolen cello, left the instrument intact and returned it. Phew!

  • Paddy says:

    I wonder what sort of “specialist store in Oxford” it ended up in. And what else they have on offer.

  • Joseph Lori says:

    – If you think that was bad, yesterday, somebody stole an entire pipe organ from an Episcopal Church in Nashville, TN!

    • opus30 says:

      Sort of. It was just the pipes from one-half of the organ, which had been removed from the church, boxed and placed in a truck to be shipped for restoration. The truck was subsequently stolen. Let’s hope recovery is swift.

  • Robert Holmén says:

    Someone needs to invent a tracking dot that can be applied inside a violin. Something like an Apple Air Tag but more discreet.

    • MGViolin says:

      I believe there is a service that puts a microchip on the inside of the button, not sure what the monthly service costs. I never leave my violin in the car unattended.

      • David K. Nelson says:

        Both the violin and case can be (and are) chipped. Not so easy with a bow.

        Another good reason not to leave a violin in a car is the same good reason for not leaving a child or pet: it can get get surprisingly hot. I did modest damage to a fiddle’s varnish when I ignored that good rule.

        This theft is a good time to bring up another good idea (one I should follow myself) and that is to photograph the instrument or have it photographed for you with special attention to identifying scratches, mars, dents and chips in the varnish, and if you can, the label. The police need something to go on other than “well it is shaped like a one foot tall Kardashian ….”