Violinist Tom Chiu's 1913 violin, handmade by Stefano Scarampella, was taken along with Chiu's laptop computer and other items when he nodded on a subway platform June 27, The New York Times reported Thursday.
"I was paralyzed," Chiu said of the feeling when he first realized the instrument was gone. "Actually, it was a weird combination of paralysis and denial. I've played this violin since I was 23, essentially all my adult life."
Chiu received a phone call Tuesday night from an official at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue station.
"He asked if I was missing something," he told the Times. "I described the contents of the violin case. He said there were a bunch of bow ties in it and I knew it was mine."
"My thief had broken the zipper on the side pouch of the violin case, but he'd taken all the papers out -- sheet music, programs, a bunch of CDs -- and returned them with the violin in a plastic bag. The only things he held onto were the laptop and my backpack."