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£25,000 violin thief jailed

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The man who stole a £25,000 violin from the luggage rack of a London train has been jailed.

Tony Graco, 33, of Whitton Dene, Hounslow, was handed a six-month custodial sentence on Friday, January 4, at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court, after pleading guilty to theft.

GRACO Tony
Tony Graco. Photo: BTP.

Graco spotted the Frederic Chaudiere violin while travelling on the 7.45am London Waterloo to Whitton service, on February 8, 2012.

When the owner realised the instrument was missing, she reported the theft to BTP. Police later released CCTV images showing Graco leaving the train at Whitton station carrying the violin.

On February 29, Graco handed in the instrument, telling staff at Hounslow station that he had found it on a train. When asked by the member of staff why it had taken so long to return the violin, he said he had been working and had been busy.

Following a forensic analysis of the case, Graco was arrested on suspicion of theft.

Graco later failed to return to his scheduled bail date of Friday, May 4, but was arrested again after officers in Hounslow stopped him as part of a routine check. He was later charged on Thursday, July 19.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Helen Magill said: “The loss of the violin had more than monetary value to the victim who was traumatised to have lost it.

“Hopefully this sentence will show that we will track down and do everything we can to bring those who think they can get away with stealing other people’s property to justice.

“Although violins like this are extremely valuable, I want to stress that their sell-on value is practically nil because they are so unique. It would be very easy for an arts or antiques dealer to recognise them as stolen property, meaning that they couldn’t be sold for anything near to their true value – I hope that this acts as a deterrent.”

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