Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Violin found in Bulgaria may be Stradivarius stolen in London

LONDON (Reuters) - British detectives are investigating whether a violin recovered during a police operation in Bulgaria is a $1.8 million Stradivarius stolen from a London train station more than two years ago.

The 300-year-old violin was snatched from Euston station in central London in November 2010, when its owner, Korean-born classical musician Min-Jin Kym, stopped at a restaurant to buy a sandwich.

Two bows stored inside the instrument's case, a Peccatte worth 62,000 pounds and another made by the School of Bazin valued at more than 5,000 pounds, were also taken.

A man and two teenage boys admitted the theft in 2011. The man, John Maughan, then 30, was jailed for four and a half years.

The trio had tried selling the violin for just 100 pounds, local media reports said at the time.

The antique violin, made in 1696, was never found. A reward of 40,000 pounds was offered for its safe return.

Officers from the British Transport Police (BTP) were working with Bulgarian authorities following the discovery of the violin, a BTP spokesman said on Monday.

"BTP detectives are aware of the recovery of a violin in Bulgaria and will investigate, with insurers, underwriters and international colleagues, whether it is the 1696 Antonio Stradivarius antique violin stolen from a café at Euston rail station in November 2010," the spokesman added.

(Reporting by Clare Hutchison; Editing by Tim Castle)

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