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Stolen $10,000 Violin Nets $40 for Thief

March 30, 1987|Associated Press

CHICAGO — The owner of a recording studio returned a 170-year-old stolen violin to its owner Sunday after buying the $10,000 instrument on the street for $40.

"I could see it was a real beautiful instrument," said Bruce Thompson, who was approached outside his Chicago studio by a man trying to sell the violin.

"At first I said, 'No, that thing's hot, man,' " Thompson said. "Then I looked inside the case. I could see a lot of love in that case."

Thompson called the owner, Ted Knight of suburban Morton Grove, whose phone number was printed inside the case.

The theft occurred Friday night after Knight and two fellow musicians, who make up the Franz Royal Strings performing trio, had finished playing for a college fund-raiser at a Chicago hotel.

After the performance, Knight stopped on his way down the hotel stairs, believing he had taken someone else's raincoat. He put down the violin case on the landing and returned to the ballroom to look for his coat.

"That's when the fellow ran off with it," he said.

Knight's parents bought the instrument for him in 1941.

He said he played the violin last year at a party thrown in Washington by President Reagan for members of the American Heritage Society.

Thompson said Knight gave him $50 for the purchase of the violin, and promised to do some recordings for him.

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