Thieves go for the sousaphones

May 6, 2009 at 2:05 AM

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., May 6 (UPI) -- Police in Newport News, Va., are on the lookout for two sousaphones stolen from a high school band.

The instruments are valued at about $5,000 each, WVEC-TV reported.

Investigators say the theft occurred Saturday night at Woodside High School. Video from surveillance cameras suggests the thieves broke into Woodside, left there and broke into Menchville High School, also in Newport News, and then returned to Woodside when they could not get into the Menchville band room.

"I was surprised and a lot of other people were surprised because we're baffled as to why people would want two sousaphones," said Hannah Rumsey, a member of the Woodside band. "There were lockers open and they didn't care about those. They just wanted to get the sousaphones."

Police said they hope to intercept the instruments if the thieves try to pawn or sell them.

The sousaphone, one of the largest instruments in a modern marching band, was designed for John Philip Sousa, the great bandmaster of the late 19th and early 20th century. The instrument curls around a player's body, resting on the left shoulder.

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