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Stolen $15,000 violin spotted at flea market

Stolen $15,000 violin spotted at flea market

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SOLON — Two sharp-eyed Plain Dealer readers tipped off police on Saturday and helped in the recovery of a treasured violin that was stolen one week earlier from a Michigan teen during an overnight stay here.

The readers called Solon police separately after spotting the specially crafted instrument at a flea market at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea. They told police they suspected the violin could be the stolen one described in Plain Dealer stories because it seemed out of place being sold, next to a snowblower and hand tools, from the back of a shirtless man’s van.

According to police reports, the man in the van was arrested in the theft. He told police he traded two drills and $35 for the violin. Police later found a video game and purse in the van that were stolen with the violin, plus other items reportedly stolen from hotel parking lots in Orange and Solon. 

Police had put the value of the instrument at $15,000.

“I’m really grateful to everyone,” said Olivia Schieber, 17, on Monday. She was given the violin last year as a birthday gift commissioned by her grandparents.

The Plain Dealer followed up its initial report about the theft with a story on Saturday saying a local man wanted to lend another violin to the girl.

Olivia’s mother, Anne, said on Monday, “The right people read the article, and the wrong people did not.”

Olivia and her mom were returning home to Grand Rapids, Mich., from a trip to visit colleges when the violin was stolen from the trunk of their car outside the SpringHill Suites on Aurora Road. Olivia said she thought the instrument would be safe in a box in the trunk of the car that was protected with an alarm. The teen said the temperature and humidity levels were better in the trunk than inside the building.

She said she is so careful of the instrument that she brought it on the trip partly because she worried about a break-in if she left it at home.

“I have to be more wary,” she said. “It’s a relief I don’t have to live with that guilt.”

Tom Feran/Plain Dealer Reporter August 03, 2009 21:25PM

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