British Transport Police have validated a violin they recovered as the 1696 Antonio Stradivarius that was stolen three years ago at Euston Station from Korean artist Min-Jin Kym. Here is her reaction on video.
And here is the statement in full:
The missing £1.2m 1696 Antonio Stradivarius violin, stolen by opportunistic thieves at Euston rail station in London in November 2010, has been safely recovered by British Transport Police (BTP) detectives.
Investigators leading the hunt for the 300-year-old instrument have verified the find with antiques experts and the violin is now being held in a secure London location.
The victim of the theft, internationally-acclaimed violinist Min-Jin Kym, 35, has been informed and has spoken of her sheer elation at the news of the precious instrument’s recovery.
Acting on a line of enquiry, officers recovered the instrument from a property in the Midlands last week, though further details on the recovery cannot be disclosed.
The instrument, discovered intact with some very minor damage, was recovered in its case along with a missing £62,000 Peccatte bow and a bow made by the School of Bazin, valued at over £5,000.
The thieves struck at a Pret a Manger café outside Euston station around 9pm on Monday, 29 November 2010 as Ms Kym stopped to get something to eat.
Following a public appeal for information and the release of CCTV images on BBC Crimewatch, John Maughan, 32 at the time, and two teenagers were later arrested and sentenced in connection with the theft in 2011 but the violin and bows were not recovered – until now.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Taylor, who led the hunt, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have recovered the Stradivarius violin after a long and very complex investigation.
“Though it took some time to successfully locate and recover the violin, we were confident it had remained in the UK.
“I always maintained that its rarity and distinctiveness would make any attempt to sell it extremely difficult, if not futile, because established arts and antiques dealers would easily recognise it as stolen property.
“I’d like to pass my sincere thanks to those who have supported our investigation over the last three years, including colleagues from other police forces and Lark (Group) Ltd, as well as the many members of the antique business who helped us.”
Speaking after the instrument’s recovery, Ms Kym said: “It’s been a very difficult journey; I still can’t quite believe what has happened.
“The loss of the instrument, and the acute responsibility I felt, was at the back of my mind at every moment of the day. I’d played the instrument since I was a teenager, so it’d been a huge part of my identity for many years.
“The theft was a crushing blow and the detectives in the case had always, quite rightly, been very careful not to give me false hope. When they told me the good news, it didn’t feel real.
“I’ve now gone from devastation to the other end of the scale – an incredible feeling of elation that hasn’t left me. I’m still feeling the butterflies in my stomach and am on cloud nine.”
Louise Deacon, Assistant Manager of Musical Instruments at broker, Lark (Group) Limited, said: “We are really happy to have such a valuable and treasured instrument back in the world of classical music where it belongs.
“We are looking forward to the outcome of our experts’ assessment on the condition of the instrument so we can then liaise with Ms Kym with regards to purchasing back the Stradivari.”
A spokesperson from Lloyd’s insurer, Canopius, said: “For Min-Jin Kym her violin is priceless and insuring it against theft can never reflect the emotional cost of her loss. It’s great news that the violin has been found.”
The violin’s recovery comes as BTP launches Operation Magnum, a long-term initiative to reduce thefts, including pickpocketing, snatch thefts and luggage thefts, at rail stations across the country.
The operation aims to disrupt and deter thieves who target unsuspecting commuters and tourists, while also educating members of the public about how they can best look after their property on trains and at stations.
If you think your property has been stolen:
- Be calm and don’t panic. Report it to a member of transport staff or a police officer straight away
- Report a theft on the Tube or railway network to British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40
- Report a theft on the bus to the Metropolitan Police Service on 101
- In an emergency dial 999 or speak to a member of transport staff or the police