San Francisco

‘It's Been Like a Child to Me; It's Like My Voice': $35,000 Violin Stolen During Funeral

Burglars have stolen another prized possession in the rash of car burglaries across the Bay Area: this time, a 150-year-old violin, and while an East Bay man was at a funeral for his aunt.

“It’s been like a child to me; it’s like my voice,” Orinda musician Greg Mazmanian said.

Mazmanian performed “Ave Maria” at his aunt’s memorial service last Monday, and while his car was parked in San Francisco’s Harding Park for the post-funeral meal, burglars smashed his car window and stole the $35,000 violin.

The music teacher admits he was out of sorts on the day of the theft, and left the violin on the car’s floorboard, covered only by a jacket.

More than a week after the theft, only silence fills his music room.

“Just an emptiness. You know, cut off my arm, take away my voice – there you go, that’s how it feels,” Mazmanian said.

Mazmanian’s parents gave him the Carlo Bergoni 1741 replica 40 years ago, and he has played it around the world: San Francisco’s Symphony, London’s Royal Albert Hall, New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

“I played it on a soundtrack of ‘Star Wars’ with John Williams conducting,” Mazmanian, a Juilliard graduate, said.

He says he wants the violin back, but also says something needs to be done about the bigger issue.

“Unfortunately, it’s become a way of life,” Mazmanian says of Bay Area car burglaries.

San Francisco Police say they don’t believe burglars are targeting musicians, even after several expensive instruments have been stolen from cars recently.

Officer Carlos Manfredi says burglars may not realize Mazmanian’s violin is “hot,” meaning more than $900. The high price tag would make the theft a felony.

Manfredi says SFPD has no leads at this time, but are hoping thieves will return it once they realize the uniqueness of the violin will raise questions at pawn shops.

Contact Us