Missing £1.2 million violin recovered after complex BTP investigation

Published: Tuesday, 30 July 2013

BTP investigators have safely recovered a missing £1.2 million 1696 Antonio Stradivarius violin, which was stolen from its owner’s side at Euston station in November 2010.

Following a public appeal and the release of CCTV images on BBC Crimewatch, John Maughan and two teenagers were arrested and sentenced in connection with the theft in 2011, but the 300-year-old instrument and bows were not recovered – until now.

Theft was 'a crushing blow' for the victim

The victim, internationally-acclaimed violinist Min Jin Kym, has spoken of her elation at the news of the precious instrument’s recovery. She said: “It’s been a very difficult journey; I still can’t quite believe quite what has happened.

“The loss of the instrument, and the acute responsibility I felt, was always at the back of my mind at every moment of the day. I’d played the instrument since I was a teenager, so it was a huge part of my identity for very 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. When they told me the good news, it didn’t feel real.

“I’ve now gone from devastation to the other end of the scale – an incredible feeling of elation that hasn’t left me. I’m still feeling the butterflies in my stomach and am on cloud nine.”

A long and complex investigation

After a full investigation, detectives recovered the violin from a house in the Midlands last week and the violin is now being held in a secure location.

The instrument, discovered intact with some very minor damage, was recovered along with a missing Peccatte bow, valued at £62,000, and another bow, made by the School of Bazin and valued at over £5,000.

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

“I’d like to pass my thanks to all those who have supported our investigation over the last three years, including colleagues from other police forces and Lark Insurance, as well as the many members of the antique business who helped us.”

Related information: theft and pickpocketing

The violin’s recovery comes as BTP launches Operation Magnum, a long-term initiative that aims to disrupt and deter thieves who target unsuspecting commuters and tourists, while also educating members of the public about how they can best look after their property on trains and at stations.

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