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Student recants story of stolen $175,000 violin

A music student who told police a $175,000 violin was stolen from her car has recanted her story and the rare instrument has been recovered, police said Friday.
/ Source: Reuters

A music student who told police a $175,000 violin was stolen from her car has recanted her story and the rare instrument has been recovered, police said Friday.

A music shop had loaned a violin made by 18th-century Italian craftsman Nicolo Gagliano to Sabina Nakajima, 24, while she said she was considering whether to buy it. Nakajima told police it disappeared from the trunk of her car, which was towed away after she illegally parked it.

After looking crestfallen in local television interviews Thursday, Nakajima recanted the story, a police official who did not want to be named said, and the instrument was recovered on Friday in good condition on the steps of a Catholic church 15 miles south of San Francisco.

“San Francisco police have determined that the original report of theft ... was false and the violin was never stolen,” police said in a press release. “Investigators will complete their investigation and refer the case to the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.”

Nash Mondragon, owner of the Cremona violin shop that lent Nakajima the instrument on behalf of the seller, said he did not want to deal with the item any more.

“That’s terrible,” he said of the false theft report. “The violin is being returned to the owner. I don’t want to handle the violin anymore.”

Asked what collateral he had taken before lending out the instrument, he replied: “You have to trust them. That’s the way the business has always worked.”

Nakajima did not return calls for comment.