Stolen Stradivarius violin worth $1.8 million recovered in U.K.

July 30, 2013 at 5:37 PM

LONDON, July 30 (UPI) -- Police in London said they located a 1696 Stradivarius violin stolen from a musician who was eating in a cafe in the city's subway system.

Korean-born, internationally renowned violinist Min-Jin Kym had the violin stolen out from under her in 2010. The instrument's theft, worth an estimated $1.8 million, made national news in Britain when it happened.

Security footage was used to identify the thieves, who were subsequently arrested. It was immediately clear they had no idea what they'd taken. They sold the instrument for a mere $150. Three men were eventually convicted for their role in the theft but the violin was not recovered, leaving Kym heartbroken.

"The loss of the instrument, and the acute responsibility I felt, was always at the back of my mind at every moment of the day," she told the BBC.

After some false hope the violin and two bows had turned up in Bulgaria, officials deemed the violin a fake made within the last 100 years.

It wasn't until recently police contacted Kym to tell her they'd located her instrument. Police did not disclose where it was found, except to say it hadn't left the United Kingdom -- or how they located it.

Kym praised police and said she's on "cloud nine" her priceless instrument will be returned.

Insurance agents said the violin must be inspected for damage but it appears only to have "very minor" damage despite the long ordeal.

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