Written by Laurie Niles
Published: June 11, 2015 at 5:50 AM [UTC]
Lori Kirr, president of the Violin Society of America, issued an alert on the VSA's Facebook page late Tuesday about an "organized violin theft ring" operating in the southeast United States.
According to violin maker John Montgomery, who runs a violin shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, "criminals have been moving violins between the Atlanta area, Nashville and Raleigh, and may be branching further afield now." One suspected thief going by the name "Steve Sincere" was arrested Monday in Pablo Alfaro’s Atlanta-area shop. Two other suspects remain at large: “Gary Crouse,” age 61, 5’ 10” tall, 185 lbs., Caucasian; and “Edward Fields”, 40’s, 5’11” tall, heavy-set, African-American; both claiming to be from Atlanta.
According to the report, “Fields” steals the violins and hides them under his suit coat, and then travels to other shops to sell the violins. So far, the ring is suspected in the thefts of instruments from Atlanta Violins and from Ron Sachs’ Atlanta-area violin shop, having begun their operation in April or earlier.
Montgomery said he first saw “Gary Crouse” in his Raleigh shop on April 24th, followed by “Edward Fields” on May 21st and again Monday afternoon, after “Fields” had been in Nashville that morning. He also said these men are not "violin-people."
Montgomery said that shop owners should be on the lookout for at least three violins stolen by the ring, including:
The VSA advised shop owners to be on the lookout for the at-large individuals and to call police if they come into their shop.
Gary Donald Crouse, 60, and Leslie Edwards Fields, 52, were apprehended Wednesday and the hotel room was searched after one of the suspects showed up at the Roswell store seeking violin cases, Holland said in a release. Both men are charged with theft by receiving stolen property.
Investigators found two oboes, two trumpets and a clarinet inside the hotel room and are looking for the owners of the instruments, Holland said. Investigators said the stolen instruments are worth more than $100,000."
This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.