Voice 1: London. December 2010. A violin worth more than eleven and a half million hk dollars was stolen from one of the world’s top professional classical violinists as she was grabbing a bite to eat in a coffee shop at a busy railway station. Voice 2: Internationally renowned concert violinist, Min-Jin Kym, was on her way to Manchester when she stopped at Pret a Manger on the concourse at London’s Euston Station. The Korean musician had with her, her most treasured possession – a 313-year-old violin made by the Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari at the end of the seventeenth century.
Voice 1: A Stradivarius violin is the very best instrument that a violinist can ever hope to play. But very few musicians achieve the dream of playing one because there are as few as four hundred and fifty Stradivari-made violins left in the world today.
Voice 2: Min-Jin Kym, 32, bought her Strad ten years ago for three quarters of a million pounds, but today it is worth at least one point two million. Imagine her absolute horror when she bent down to pick up the violin case after finishing her sandwich and coffee and discovered that it wasn’t on the floor where she had placed it.
Voice 1: Kym rushed up to the counter in total panic and yelled at a waiter “Call the police! Can you get the CCTV? You have to do something.” When police arrived at the scene, they realised what had happened. An opportunist thief had snatched the violin case and run off with it. One of the waiters in the coffee shop had noticed that Kym had been playing with her mobile phone and not paying attention to her luggage.
Voice 2: CCTV revealed quite clearly how the violin had been stolen. Two teenage boys had distracted other customers sitting next to Kym while a man had snatched the violin case. It was easy to identify the three thieves from CCTV footage. When they were eventually arrested, police discovered that the trio was ignorant about what they had stolen. Despite researching the violin online, they had no idea of its value and had offered it to a stranger in a cafe for one hundred pounds. But the man had turned them down because his daughter already had a recorder!
Voice 1: Following their arrest, the three thieves agreed to cooperate with the police to find the violin, but it was no longer in their possession and the instrument could not be traced. The detective inspector in charge of the case thought it would eventually be offered for sale within the antiques trade, and that it was so rare it would be easily identified.
Voice 2: A big search was launched, but it looked as if Min-Jin Kym had very little chance of getting her violin back. She was distraught.
Voice 1: London. July 2013. Acclaimed musician Min-Jin Kym had said she is elated after police tracked down her Stradivarius violin after an almost three year search.
Voice 2: The instrument was recovered recently from a house in the Midlands region of England after police received new information.
Voice 1: Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor said “We’re absolutely delighted to have recovered the Stradivarius violin after a long and very complex investigation.”
Voice 2: Following the recovery of the violin, British Transport Police reminded travellers to look after their belongings at all times on trains and at stations. Not all stories end as happily as Min-Jin Kym’s.