SF music student's prized cello stolen

September 18, 2012 11:48:51 PM PDT
A San Francisco musician is singing the blues after thieves walked off with his $11,000 cello. On Tuesday night, San Francisco police released surveillance video showing the thieves making off with the pricey instrument.

The word is out and students are talking about what happened. The cello is not just one student's passion, it is something he needs to play gigs to put food on his table and a roof over his head.

"There's just such an empty feeling now because criminals came through here and rummaged through my stuff and took my most valuable possession," cellist Adam Young said. The 23-year-old is talking about the cello he has played for the past 11 years. It was stolen Sunday afternoon from his locker on the fourth floor of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on Oak Street, "I feel like my life is put on pause right now," Young said.

The best hope of getting it back is this surveillance video showing a well-dressed man and woman going floor to floor at the conservatory. San Francisco police say the pair spent about an hour there before the man walked out with a cello case strapped to his shoulder. Police say that is the stolen instrument, and so did Young when he saw the video for the first time.

The cello is a Bubenreuth, handmade in Germany and worth about $11,000. So how do you sell a cello?

"That's what we're hoping the public, you and the public, tells me how this went down," SFPD Inspector Brian Danker said. "We have no idea what you'd do with that. Pawnshops are all gonna be alerted. eBay and Craigslist. People are looking for it there."

This is not the first time somebody has swiped an instrument from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Last spring, police used transit surveillance video to arrest a man for stealing a student's violin worth more than $100,000. It was recovered a few days later and the suspect convicted.

On Sunday afternoon Young, a junior, was at the conservatory for rehearsals. He says he put his cello in his locker, but admits he didn't use a padlock. Now he does. And he has a word for the people who stole it, "I just really hope that they keep my instrument safe because it's really fragile."

The cello was stolen on a Sunday afternoon when the school was open to the public for recitals. In fact, one school official says he saw the couple, and a few students are saying the pair took a tour the day before. As for the stolen cello, Young says he did not have insurance.

People who know anything about the cello are asked to call San Francisco Police at: 415-575-4444


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