This all started at the
end of last month and was reviewed here - May 2, 2004 - Nathaniel West, cellos and mountain lions... Strange Times in Los Angeles
Reuters has a good, clean
See A Stradivarius as a CD Holder?
Wed May 19,10:22 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A
Los Angeles nurse found a stolen Stradivarius cello worth $3.5 million next to a dumpster and planned to turn it into a CD
cabinet until she discovered it was the instrument the whole town was searching for, her lawyer says.
The "General Kyd" cello, made in 1684 and named for the man who brought it to England, was returned
on Saturday to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which owns it and offered a $50,000 reward for its return, attorney Ronald Hoffman
Police said the cello was taken from the porch of principal
cellist Peter Stumpf on April 24 by a thief riding a bicycle.
later, nurse Melanie Stevens spotted the cello peeking from its silver case beside a dumpster while she waited at a red light. "She recognized it as a musical instrument case because she plays guitar. She wasn't thinking that it was old," Hoffman said.
Stevens, 30, asked a homeless man to help load it into her car and took it home to show her cabinetmaker
boyfriend, Igal Asseraf, to see if he could fix a crack in it.
said if you can't fix it, we can turn it into a CD case," Hoffman said.
are very lucky that Igal was not a person that works real quickly."
The instrument sat in the couple's spare bedroom
until last Friday, when Stevens caught the end of a TV news report on the missing cello, and realized she had found the instrument
that all of Los Angeles was looking for.
The couple met detectives from
the Los Angeles Police Department's art theft detail, who interviewed them extensively to make sure they were not involved
with the theft, the lawyer said.
They also contacted officials at the
Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, who were "jubilant" at the rare instrument's return, Hoffman added.
He said Stevens was thrilled to learn that she may receive the $50,000 reward for not turning the
cello into a CD case.
From all the news I see that the Stevens woman is saying she will donate the
reward, should she ever see it, to charity – music education and the like. And
the fellow who does instrument repair for the Los Angeles Philharmonic says the cracks in the wood can be repaired –
happens all the time to these old instruments.
From the Los Angeles
lowest moment came about three days after the theft when it didn't come back to us right away," said Deborah Borda, president
of the Philharmonic Assn., which owns the 17th century cello. "If not three
days, then it can disappear for 30 years."
Borda learned Sunday afternoon that a cello had been located in an
alley off Fountain Avenue and Griffith Park Boulevard. But she could not
view the instrument until the next morning.
"I was up all night,"
she said. "We went as early as we could the next morning…. When I saw the case, even without opening it, I knew it was it."
… On Monday, violinmaker
Robert Cauer examined the instrument for several hours at Parker Center, holding it himself while police dusted it for fingerprints.
The cello is being stored in a climate-controlled vault at Cauer's shop. He said the multiple cracks on the top of the cello were unfortunate, but routine
as far as damage goes.
"On a Stradivari, everything is repairable,"
Cauer said. "I have no worries about the sound and look of the instrument."
But it would have made one heck of a CD cabinet.
this Stevens woman hadn’t accidentally watched the news….
Well, many folks are avoiding the news these days as it so very depressing.