Family Offers $1,000 Reward for Stolen Violin

The antique instrument was stolen out of a vehicle parked near San Francisco's Japantown neighborhood, police said.

A Sunnyvale, California, family is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who helps return a $23,000 violin that was stolen earlier this month.

Police say the antique instrument was stolen when thieves broke into a parked car at a San Francisco Safeway on Webster Street near Japantown.

The violin’s owner, Erica Buonanno, says a friend borrowed it for a college audition on the day it was stolen. She said she’s desperate to get it back, not for the money, but its sentimental value.

"I named it Elizabeth," Buonanno said. "It has a name. It’s really a member of this family."

The nearly 200-year-old violin was kept in a bright red case. The case alone is worth $3,000, Buonanno said.

"They might have thrown it out, because they couldn’t open the case," Buonanno said. "And that devastates me because it doesn’t give me an opportunity to get it back."

Buonanno says she’s hoping the thief will return the violin in exchange for the reward. And, if that happens, she plans to teach her own children how to play the violin one day.

Anyone who has seen the violin or its case is asked to contact San Francisco police.

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