Police close stolen violin case after 3 years

The violin dates from 1696, and was stolen from a violinist in London in 2010. Picture: AP
The violin dates from 1696, and was stolen from a violinist in London in 2010. Picture: AP
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A 1696 Antonio Stradivarius violin worth £1.2 million, which was stolen in 2010, has been found.

The 300-year-old instrument and two bows worth £67,000 were stolen from Korean-born violinist Min-Jin Kym, 35, by opportunist thieves while she was eating in a Pret a Manger cafe at London’s Euston station.

Yesterday police said investigators leading the hunt for the antique have verified the find with experts and the violin is now being held at a secure London location.

The internationally acclaimed Kym said: “It’s been a very difficult journey; I still can’t quite believe what has happened. The loss of the instrument, and the acute responsibility I felt, was at the back of my mind at every moment of the day. I’d played the instrument since I was a teenager, so it had been a huge part of my identity for many years. The theft was a crushing blow and the detectives in the case had always, quite rightly, been very careful not to give me false hope.”

British Transport Police said the violin was recovered from a property in the Midlands last week but added that they could not release further details.

The instrument, discovered intact with some very minor damage, was recovered in its case along with a £62,000 Peccatte bow and a bow made by the School of Bazin, valued at more than £5,000.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, who led the hunt, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have recovered the Stradivarius violin after a long and very complex investigation.

“Though it took some time to successfully locate and recover the violin, we were confident it had remained in the UK.

“I always maintained that its rarity and distinctiveness would make any attempt to sell it extremely difficult, if not futile, because established arts and antiques dealers would easily recognise it as stolen property.”