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Violinist's $1.9M Stradivarius Stolen at Lunch

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By Jason Beahm on December 08, 2010 8:59 AM

Have you ever been to the lunch spot Pret a Manger in London? Great sandwiches, tasty stuff. But probably not so delicious that I would forget about my 300-year-old 1696 Antonio Stradivarius violin worth almost $2 million. (Unless I was really, really hungry. Then, who knows?)

32-year-old violinist Min-Jin Kym and a friend went to Pret a Manger to pick up a sandwich while waiting for the tube near Euston Underground station in London, Reuters reports. Kym had the violin inside the case, along with two very valuable bows. She placed the case on the floor and began using her computer and iPhone, without paying much attention to the bags. (At least she's honest.) Suddenly, it was just gone.

Whomever stole it is going to have a hard time fencing it however. There are only 450 such violins in the world and the violin has several identifying marks. Lark Insurance Broking Group, the insurer of the violin, has offered a $23,500 reward, which seems a bit light considering the value of the item.

"These items hold enormous sentimental and professional value for the victim," Detective Inspector Andy Rose said in a statement, "But although they are extremely valuable, it would be very difficult to sell them on as they are so rare and distinctive that they will be easily recognized as stolen property."

In the U.S., theft or larceny is defined as the taking of something of value without the consent of the owner, with the intent to permanently deprive him or her of it. Most states recognize degrees of theft, such as "grand" or "petty," which usually relate to the value of the property taken. In the case of a $2 million dollar violin, it would certainly be grand theft.

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