Musician reunited with stolen violin after burglar tries to flog it in Paris
- Credit: Daniel Chandler
Daniel Chandler’s beloved violin is home for Christmas – a year after thieves took the instrument during a raid on his Hampstead home.
He had to travel afar (so to speak) to retrieve it, mind you. A dealer had tried to flog it to a music shop in Paris, but police were called just in time to pluck the strings from his grasp and arrest him.
The violin had been given to him in 2003 when he was attending classes at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Just over a decade earlier, he had appeared in the Ham&High as a six-year-old, busking as part of a music group to raise money for children in Croatia and Bosnia.
Daniel admitted he had given up hope. The once-daily trawl of sites where somebody might be trying to sell his violin had dwindled.
“I didn’t think I was going to get it back,” said the 32-year-old. “I’d been thinking about it recently and had accepted that it wasn’t coming back.”
That all changed when he got an email out of the blue from Sandrine Raffin who has a shop in the heart of Paris’ luthier quarter.
She told Daniel a man had been into her shop, in Rue de Rome, and tried to sell a violin. She realised something was amiss, and went to check its details online to see if it had been stolen.
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By the time she had found its listing on a website for stolen instruments, the man had gone. She texted other violin shop owners in the hope the crook might try again.
Sure enough, he tried to flog the instrument in another shop, Pierre Barthel. A staff member told the man he knew the violin was stolen, and called the police. The rogue trader was then arrested.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Daniel. “I nearly deleted the email, because I thought I was never going to get it back it was spam. Sandrine said it was the second time in 30 years that this had happened, so it’s quite unusual.”
Daniel and his boyfriend then visited Paris for a long weekend to reclaim his violin, almost a year after it was first taken from his flat. “It’s amazing, and it was just really unbelievable,” he said. “I was quite excited when I saw it again for the first time.”