Finding another voice

June 15, 2012 at 05:07 AM · At a recent orchestra practice the worst thing possible happened. After practice I had put my violin away and headed towards the bathroom. What I found when I came back was not a pleasant surprise. One of the high school kids had gone through my violin case taken it out and smashed it outside along with a bow and a severely damaged case. My Director had talked with her students and every single one of them had denied doing anything. I had a $15,000+ violin that my parent's had bought for me along with a $1,200 bow, and a nice Bobelock case. My director had offered to give her backup bow to me as a gift for the loss. I later spoke to my parent's who cannot afford another violin as they bought this one for college for the Fall of 2014. I had talked to the manager of the shop I had bought it from and they let me borrow a rental violin for a month free of charge. They tried to help me out by lowering the prices but that had no help. If anyone has a loud instrument that I can perhaps borrow or have a nice violin that they are willing to sell for a very low price please email me. If you are a Luiter/ Own a Shop if you can negotiate a price with me/ have a violin that is no longer of use please do not hesitate to contact me via please ask your friends/ family if they have a violin they are willing to part with. Thanks!

Replies (92)

June 15, 2012 at 05:38 AM · Might your violin be covered on your personal possessions/ home contents insurance?

It's certainly worth reporting to the police, it's criminal damage

June 15, 2012 at 05:47 AM · That's a serious crime, not just malicious mischief. It should be reported. The director is not the one to deal with the criminals; it should be police.

June 15, 2012 at 06:25 AM · I agree this should be reported to the police. The school is most likely interested in keeping this resolved at the lowest level possible, because it reduces their exposure to any risk. That is NOT in your best interest, or in the best interest of the next student this happens to.

Please report it to the police, even if it is only as a public service.

June 15, 2012 at 09:00 AM · Oh no! Patrick. How terrible. Every violinists worst nightmare. How could they do this to you? It is indeed a serious offence and needs serious investigation. Someone MUST have seen this happen and it is not good enough that they simply think they can deny all and come off scott-free. Go to the Police, they will investigate further and show the situation for the seriousness that it is. After all, it can happen to somebody else all over again if they aren't caught.

I wish I could help. I do have a loud violin that I play sometimes and would be only too happy to lend to you (nowhere nearly as nice as your own though), but I'm in Australia and shipping would be prohibitively expensive. I hope someone can help you soon who is just a tad closer.

June 15, 2012 at 09:42 AM · Aweful. Your letter litterally brought tears to my eyes. Yes, DEFINITELY the police. Someone is to blame for this and I would bet that more than one person knows who is responsible. If that person can be found then their parents will have to come up with the replacement.

So sorry - and I'm very impressed with how you are dealing with this emotionally. I would probably go homicidal...


June 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM · So very sorry about what happended to you. Absolutely ask your parents to look into legal action. Please tell me that your violin was insured, though I have a feeling from your narrative that it wasn't. Folks - we MUST insure our good violins and bows! It doesn't cost that much.

June 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM · what everyone else is saying- call the police! Look out for your interests. Whoever did this (or their parents, if a minor) owes you a new violin,etc., but you have to get in there and fight for it. The school may also have liability (that's why they're being nice to you).

The police should be able to find out who did it, and the perpetrator's parents may have a liability policy or money to buy you new fiddle to avoid criminal action. Are your parents aware of the situation? They should call the police and file a police report right away, and speak to a lawyer about any other claims.

See a crime- call 911 right away! Don't let the evidence be destroyed or the situation white-washed over.

June 15, 2012 at 03:06 PM · My condolences.

I'm not a lawyer...but this is a malicious the police should be informed. It's in excess of $5000 (which I think is a lower limit in some areas for taking action)'re at around $17,000.

The school may be liable. At the very least the school should call a meeting with all the students present AND their parents to discuss your case in specific and rules of behaviour in general.

Your regular house insurance may cover it as well - check your policy.

Regardless of the rules and regulations in your area...make CERTAIN you have really good pictures of the damage and to document the event. Time, place, people present (ALL of them...every single student present)...who you talked to, their response, when you talked with them, etc. Have copies of the receipt for the purchace price of the violin, bow, case, and miscellaneous items (they all add up).

It's so easy to forget the details when you're stressed out and they may be important down the road. These things take a while to resolve.

While it's being resolved - see if you can borrow a violin from someone...and just keep playing!

Good luck. Let us know how it pans out.

June 15, 2012 at 03:44 PM · At $15K you are definitely into felony territory. This is not a prank with a notebook or tennis shoes, this is a heavy-duty crime. If you do not play professionally- unlikely as a high school student- your folks' homeowner's policy should help, but they will need a police report. CALL THE COPS- NOW! Didn't you have a problem like this earlier in the year?

June 15, 2012 at 04:12 PM · I have now called and they took the violin, bow, case away to investigate. I kept all the accessories. The police were in fact no help they didn't know a thing on how to resolve this.

@Roland you were in fact right, the director tried to keep it as low as possibly and even tried to bribe me! The police had dusted for fingerprints around the neck and they had only found mine. They looked at the case lock and handle and the bow and suggested that whoever did this was very smart enough to wear gloves. They had searched the building for any traces that they could find and so far there is nothing. The police later talked to my parent's about the home insurance but state farm does NOT cover my violin/bow/case as found here

Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover:

Bodily injury or property damage that is expected or intended by the insured

Business pursuits

Professional services provided or not provided

Ownership, operation, use, or maintenance of aircraft, motor vehicles, and certain watercraft

And unless they can find that someone purposely damaged it. They will have to assume that I intended to break it and just want money.

Even more upsetting is that my older sister has finished college and is paying her bills and that she owes a down payment of $5,000 and her overall bill is around $40,000. My parent's have decided to choose paying her $5,000 than to invest in another violin. I have had a person contact me regarding a violin in New York. But in truth my parent's cannot afford a violin over $1,000 I will have to hope that the police find a trace of the criminal so my violin can be covered.

@N.A Mohr Statefarm can cover about $5,000 of the damage if they have evidence that someone else did it. The school has let out for the summer and the Director and the Principal will have a discussion.

I am in need of a violin and preferably a case ( Although I can invest in a case) but the bow my director gave me is adequate. If anyone has an instrument that they can sell for a really, really low price I'm talking about the 0-$1,200 at the max area please contact me. If anyone has a violin that they no longer need or has a collection that they are willing to lend me that would be very great. I guess the best thing to do now is wait....*cries*

June 15, 2012 at 04:34 PM · I'm very sorry. :(

Keep after it though. When things don't go well, it's easy to let it slide prematurely. But be a bit of a the police to check on the the school to see what they're doing about it (even if it feels futile...sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease)...

Also...maybe call the media...if it's a slow news day they may be interested...and the publicity might make the police/school take more interest in it...

I don't know what else to advise you. If you lived closer (or even in the same country!) I'd lend you my spare...but it's nowhere near the quality of a $15,000'd likely just be irritated with it...

June 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM · If you or a family member can come to NYC I'll give you a case. The handle is broken, but otherwise it's fine and I'll give you a shoulder strap for it.

June 15, 2012 at 04:48 PM · Please do contact all the media outlets you can find (TV, newspaper, etc). There has been a Lot of news in the national media about bullying and that sort of thing in the schools. This type of story would definitely be a tie-in. Please get the word out, surely that can help your situation.

June 15, 2012 at 04:59 PM · Also if you write to the insurance company with. High profile campaign they may be lenient - and I don't see how that bit you quoted explicitly excludes violins, maybe go through it with a fine tooth comb, as even if it doesn't explicitly include violins it may not explicitly exclude them.

June 15, 2012 at 05:04 PM · when something like this happens at a school, there are people who saw it or have heard them brag about it. Something will turn up! Vandals don't just do one thing like this- something else has happened or will happen, and that may be a break.

There's nothing in the insurance language you quoted that excepts your fiddle from coverage, unless you play professionally. You really must get a lawyer to deal with the insurance company- believe me, they have lots of them, and they will always deny coverage if they can and the insured falls for it. If you get a lawyer he/she starts writing letters to the school and insurance company, good things will start happening. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts someone at the school knows who did it, or they'll figure it out to avoid a lawsuit.

June 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM · Keep turning the screws on the insurance company. Their justification for denying your claim is like saying they won't cover a car theft, unless the owner can prove they didn't steal it themself.

READ THE CONTRACT and see if it contains any such requirement. More likely, the burden of proof is on them to show that you did it yourself.

If you play professionally, then they may have a legitimate reason to deny coverage, as stated in the contract (no coverage for business pursuits).

June 15, 2012 at 08:50 PM · That's why it's better to have a specifically geared instrument insurance policy, such as Clarion. But yes, try whatever you can.

June 15, 2012 at 09:33 PM · I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.

I second those who suggest you get in touch with the press.

Cheers Carlo

June 16, 2012 at 07:39 AM · I remember reading about something similar not long ago - here's the story:

... maybe there is something useful there?

June 16, 2012 at 04:22 PM · Since Patrick said he doesn't start college until 2014, I assume he's a minor. I would be surprised if his parents' homeowners insurance doesn't cover this.

That said, the school has an obligation to involve the police due to the theft/property damage issue and they should also investigate the possibility of bullying as a motivation for this malicious act.

June 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM · ...(cont.) I have to point out that Patrick did not say anything to indicate that this was the result of bullying, but as a parent I would think that the issue should be addressed, and the school should be asked to consider its presence in their orchestra program -- this may prompt the school to a quicker and more satisfactory response.

June 17, 2012 at 03:11 AM · bullying is only one of many many theories under which the school may be liable for the damages- if they failed to provide adequate security knowing there were nice instruments, if they had knowledge of other vandalism and failed to act accordingly, if they had prior incidents and let perps go because they were athletes or something, if they failed to warn players of danger and provide secure environment, etc. etc. etc. Get a lawyer, do some discovery, and figure out the facts and whether there's a claim. Schools have insurance, too....

June 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM · Someone was jealous of your playing, and he/she is likely to be the second or third best violinist in the orchestra. They broke your violin.

That's all I can say.

June 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM · Just thinking...if you strongly pursue the possibility of holding everyone there responsible for paying for a replacement...that might annoy enough people that they actually look into this seriously too...

As I a squeaky wheel...don't just let this go...

June 18, 2012 at 07:45 PM · Did you not have insurance on such an expensive violin? I guess this would be a lesson learned in that regard. It is possible, and advisable, to get instrument insurance, or at least to make sure it is covered under a homeowner's or other policy.

June 19, 2012 at 01:17 AM · If I were in your shoes, I'd get a lawyer and look into holding the school partially liable. At a minimum, they should have conducted an internal investigation the moment it was discovered. Not doing so is negligence as far as I'm concerned.

June 19, 2012 at 01:24 AM · Raymond, if we are going to cast aspersions, then let me put in my theory: Perhaps someone snapped after one too many viola jokes?

Edit: Awesome. My psychic powers strike again!

June 19, 2012 at 02:07 AM · It is interesting that it could be assumed to be jealousy. I see it differently, but then I'm just a fiddler.

I assumed it was a non-musician that had no respect for property, and thought it would be 'fun' to smash something. Bullying is a possibility, too, but I couldn't see a musician doing this.

June 19, 2012 at 09:35 AM · forgive me but somehow I don't think we are hearing the entire story. There may be a good reason for that - such as a police inquiry - but the question why has never really been addressed by the OP. Was this a random act? Or was it part of a larger battle perhaps?

June 19, 2012 at 09:59 AM · I'm afraid I have reason to feel the same way as Elise.

June 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM · I've held off on commenting on this post by fear of being insensitive under the circumstances, but I can see that Elise and Raphael have expressed some doubts and I feel I have to add my voice to theirs. There are too many details in this story that don't add up: $15K violin uninsured; some story about the police being no help and not knowing a thing on how to resolve this; school kids wearing gloves to smash a violin; Director of the school trying to bribe him (did this happen in America or Nigeria??); no details provided about the violin itself, the shop who sold it to him or the name of the school where it took place; the sob story about the debts of the sister in college, parents unable to afford another instrument, etc. etc. Also, this story sounds a bit too much like the recent one about the girl whose violin was smashed (and was replaced by an altruistic dealer). Apologies in advance if I'm wrong here, but I would advise anyone wanting to help Mr Lengkong to thoroughly check the facts before parting with their violin.

June 19, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Post a monetary award for the perp. I can guarantee if the dollar figure is right, you'll have your guy (or girl)in no time at all.

---Ann Marie

June 19, 2012 at 12:12 PM · @Marc, your comments make a lot of sense. Initially I felt sorry but now I'm not sure it all adds up. Are we being scammed?

Cheers Carlo

June 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM · One point may be relatively straightforward. IF this was an act of premeditated nastiness, then high school pupils wearing gloves to smash a violin does not surprise me; BTW, I once did a stint as a schoolmaster.

June 19, 2012 at 03:28 PM · I've mulled over this thread every day since I started reading it 4 days ago. I feel as devastated as the OP must feel, because I know how I would react if something like this happened to one of my instruments.

"Someone was jealous of your playing, and he/she is likely to be the second or third best violinist in the orchestra. They broke your violin."

This initially crossed my mind, too. In fact, I thought right away of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan scandal of 1994, one that has its parallels in the performing arts. But as a former trial juror -- one criminal case, one civil -- I have to reserve judgment till more facts emerge.

Patrick, I don't mean to turn the knife, but there are two things I'd like to clear up:

1. You stated on 6-15-2012 in a follow-up reply, "The police … looked at the case lock and handle …." Had you actually locked the case before you headed toward the washroom? Can't really tell from the context.

2. Was your orchestra practice during regular school hours -- with the full student body on campus? Or was this an after-hours rehearsal, when most students and faculty and staff would be gone? If it's the latter, then I'm more ready to suspect an inside job. But …?

June 19, 2012 at 08:17 PM · I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this story hard to believe.

June 19, 2012 at 08:52 PM · What's so hard to believe?

A 16-year old teenager left his violin unattended and another teenager or group thereof decided to trash it (opportunity? Bullying? Who knows). Is anyone going to confess? Of course not. Anyone who would feel guilty enough to confess wouldn't have trashed the instrument to begin with.

As to the price of the instrument, bow and case...I know of several young players with expensive equipment. If the parents purchased it with the intent it meets the needs of their child through college...why not?

I wouldn't take anything of value to a high-school (I've seen what goes on, even if there's no malice involved)...but that's just me.

Are the parents angry the expensive equipment was not looked after properly? Of course. Should they then just re-invest for the one child and neglect whatever financial commitment they offered the other to prove something?

Are the parents aware of their insurance policy and all it covers or doesn't? Could be they don't. Lots of people don't know what's all in their policies...and in addition lots of people have inadequate coverage - or none. Our neighbour's house burned down one insurance...they managed by living on handouts for a long time.

And some people just won't make the fuss required to have an issue like this looked after. Maybe the teachers don't believe it was such an expensive instrument. Maybe no proof was shown to the authorities.

In addition, I've found the authorities really don't want to have to bother with vandalism - it's what they consider a victimless crime. If they ignore it...hopefully it goes away...

If this is a what end? No one is going to give this teenager another $17000+ worth of equipment for the heck of it.

We can speculate all we like. We could write a novel revolving around an incident like this (I'm sure it's been done). But to just assume it must be a scam is a little odd as well.

June 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM · It's the sort of thing that might make a good story-line for a court-room scene in The Good Wife.

June 19, 2012 at 11:55 PM · N.A. I think we all feel like you do - just read the comments above. However, we are also a bit world weary perhaps and do not want to be gullible either. A little more clarification and explanation would not be too much to ask.

Perhaps there is a newspaper article that we could be referred to? I would certainly think that a >$10K violin would make it into the local rag...

June 20, 2012 at 12:24 AM · UPDATE: After dealing with the school and the insurance company there was some talk going on revolving this problem and one young lad decided to tell his friends that he broke my instrument and got around to the school. Yesterday the boy can be Juvenile Prison for up to 18 months for vandalism. The insurance company however did not deal with instruments and the boy's parent's did pay $5,000 to avoid any other problem . There will be a court hearing on next Monday and if found guilty the boy will go to prison facing the appropriate charges, the parent's were very heartbroken saying how the boy really didn't mean too and paid $5,000 for a violin ( I was in shock when my mother had told me that this was toward a violin! Which I in fact had a In-Home trial today and very much loved it!) I'm so relived!

After reading the comments on this post. My parent's have in fact looked to insuring this new violin. Although any money that are charged will go towards insurance. I am not really sure how this is being scammed? As N.A Mohr said I don't think someone would just give me $17,000 because of a made up story. They would want to meet me in person and probably talk to my parent's and the Police about this story. And I have not mentioned names because it is confidential.

I had thought about contacting the newspaper but after hearing how the parent's of the particular young man reacted My parent's and I were to heartbroken to think about how bad their lives would be after showing the world about this, so this had not gone to the newspapers/t.v

As you all tried to think of the culprit it in fact was Violist ( Please restrain yourself from making viola jokes) This man stated right to my face that he did not like how everyone paid attention to me because I played in a pop/rock violin quartet and cursed right to my face. I will make sure that he does pay the price.

As for the bow the school had requested that my director take the bow back and the school had paid for another bow.

The case however the police thought was in "Excellent" Condition ( I assume because it was a Bobelock Corregidor ) Oh it's in excellent condition really.....except for the lid completely torn off, a giant chunk of wood missing from the underside, a ripped canvas, and compartment lid that I have no idea where it went.... Totally fine....If there is anyone that has a nice oblong case that they are willing to sell for a lower cost please contact me.

I hope on Monday things will turn out well! Thanks for everyone that contributated these great responses!

June 20, 2012 at 01:32 AM · Take a look at Concord or Pedi cases... they're a great value for the money.. or even a lower model Bobelock case - I recommend the half moon model; one teacher at my school keeps his G.B. Guadagnini in one, another teacher used one for his Guarneri del Gesu (which he later replaced with an Alf)

June 20, 2012 at 01:55 AM · if you have a confession, get a lawyer. $5,000 to settle over $17,000 worth of losses... sorry

June 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM · Hi Patrick, good to read that the culprit was caught and the situation was somewhat resolved. However, I'm with Mendy. If that were me I'd be looking for the remaining 12G's to be repaid somehow. Maybe the school is still liable for the rest? It's a lot of money and something you may have to work hard for years to rebuild. There's also the cost of the case to consider. Violins and their accessories are not cheap and to have them wilfully damaged by a jealous student is just about the 'pits'.

One little word of advice, though. Don't look to punish the culprit by either words or actions, directly or to anybody else. If he already dislikes you to this extent you don't want to make a serious enemy out of him. Let him stew on his situation, and maybe as he matures he will come to realise that it was a really poor way to behave. You never know, in 10 years time he may look you up and apologise. Funny things do happen. Do follow up on restitution of the remaining value, but do it through the legal channels and leave him be as much as possible. Eventually he'll get the message loud and clear.

June 20, 2012 at 03:09 AM · Patrick, home insurance generally covers all property usually kept there unless there are specific exclusions. Are you sure that musical instruments are specifically excluded? On State Farm's web site, I see a suggested inventory form, which includes a piano. There may be price limits, but pianos are often expensive.

If your policy doesn't give you adequate protection or service, maybe you should change it going forward.

(And I should check/revise my own policy tomorrow.)

June 20, 2012 at 03:15 AM · Patrick, I am late to this discussion but what an outrage you suffered! As another poster above mentioned you need to get an attorney. $5,000 for $17,000 losses? Not adequate. And the parents said he really didn't mean to trash your violin??? How typical.

June 20, 2012 at 06:10 AM · Patrick, look at it this way. If I were sitting opposite you in the cafeteria and you had $17 on the table, and I took them, and refused to give them back (the trashing of the violin) you'd be angry.

If I then agreed to give $5 back and said I didn't mean to steal your $17, you wouldn't be happy with that, would you? You'd want the whole $17 back.


June 20, 2012 at 07:29 AM · What I forgot to mention was that the boy's parent's gave $5,000 for all the troubles he caused towards a violin. On Monday my parent's will be sure to collect the total amount of $16,000 not $17,000

June 20, 2012 at 09:32 AM · Lyndon I had bought this violin through a local dealer for $15,000 along with a $1,000 bow

June 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Patrick - I truly hope I'm wrong, and if I am I will apologize, but certain things in your story are just not adding up. As you know, we had a little private e-mail exchange re the case I offered to give you for free, should you or anyone representing you get in to New York. It's been about 5 days that you haven't answered me, so I feel I have little choice but to bring up the gist of our exchange in public.

There's an old saying "don't look a gift-horse in the mouth". Yet you expected me to take photos of the case before you'd accept my gift. Then you expect me to ship it to you, and then say that just maybe your mother might pay for the shipping. But here's the real kicker: you then say that you're planning to come in to NY in the fall, because you are planning to see Sam Zygmontowics, the country's most expensive violin maker. Even if he felt sorry for you, and reduced his prices by 50%, where are your funds suddenly coming from? Since you are supposedly w.o. money, and are asking everyone and anyone to give you stuff, I think that this is a legitimate question.

What gives?

June 20, 2012 at 01:12 PM · Even if Sam did lower his price by 50% (which would still leave it at about $30,000) he still has a waiting list of four or five (or perhaps more) years.

June 20, 2012 at 01:18 PM · No disrespect, but I think it is silly to bring a $15k violin to school. I would never jeopardize my primary fiddle in that environment. If you have $15k to buy a violin, you can afford $2k to buy a second fiddle.

June 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM · Thanks for supplying more information Patrick.

I hope it works out for you.

Maybe you should also look into getting a 'beater' violin for school and keep your quality instrument at home for the rest of your high-school time...

June 20, 2012 at 02:37 PM · Reading Raphael's last post and the latest update from Patrick Lengkong - interestingly things suddenly got to a perfect resolution after a few of us started expressing concerns about the veracity of this post - I am of the strong opinion this is a scam.

Laurie Niles - if you're reading this I would urge you to get involved before anyone falls victim.

June 20, 2012 at 02:53 PM · Marc, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?!

June 20, 2012 at 03:15 PM · Lily, I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but I'm also for protecting individuals in this community who might fall victim of abuse of confidence, and in my opinion there is enough here to at least raise some strong suspicions.

June 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM · (See the post on April 9, 2012 at 09:38 PM):

"I had bought my lovely Italian violin made no less than 2 years ago for $1,500 turns out it was worth $2,800 when it was appraised."

(BTW, I have saved a copy to preserve the evidence.)

June 20, 2012 at 03:38 PM · Well there we go. I'm inclined not to take down this discussion, just because it's a good lesson for all. I don't know what did or didn't happen to Patrick's violin, but it is not appropriate to go trolling for contributions toward a new violin on an Internet forum. Specifically, it's not appropriate to go trolling for money for a new violin here. is not your insurance policy, and if you didn't get one, whether your violin was worth $2,000 or $15,000, you are not responsible enough to own it.

June 20, 2012 at 04:09 PM ·

June 20, 2012 at 04:12 PM · I did a little exploring, and found that Patrick has posted on a couple of sites (here's one) against bullying, on his own behalf, but also more generally.

Not sure how that ties in with this admittedly at least odd thread, but it's probably more complicated than first appears. Most things with teens are.


June 20, 2012 at 04:38 PM · Marc: What proof? He never said the $2000 violin WAS the $15,000 violin. Could be 2 different violins.

BTW, what are the laws regarding defamation of character? Anyone know?

So what are the two extremes here?

1. A teenager who's telling the truth (at least from his POV) who's suffered a set-back - and arguably handled the entire issue badly (which comes from either/or inexperience or any host of other reasons).

2. A teenager who's lying (and please, show me one that doesn't in some form or other) for some unclear reason and a number of adults on a witch hunt.

I can't say for certain which it is...and frankly neither can anyone else.

That's all I have to contribute. Forward and onward.

June 20, 2012 at 04:52 PM · N.A. Mohr, I do not wish to enter into an argument with you. My intent when posting on this trail was to raise awareness to the possibility of this being a scam, out of concern for other members on this site and to stop anyone from potentially falling victim of it.

June 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM · N.A.: According to himself 1.5 months ago (May 1, 2012 at 11:10 PM):

"I use my one and only Italian violin."

If he had another violin, do you think it's appropriate for him to come here and ask for one?

Some may think that he could have upgraded from a $1,500 violin to a $15,000 one since April. It's a possibility, but there are other evidences that also don't add up...

RE #2: Defrauding, which is a serious crime, should not be trivialized as casual teenager lying.

(Trust me - I don't take pleasure in being the one who had to present these evidences.)

June 20, 2012 at 05:45 PM · Joyce - is that the post where he said his teacher had once thrown his instrument across the room?

If that was true, one has to wonder why he would ever have taken a valuable violin back to that school again.

June 20, 2012 at 05:49 PM · "But here's the real kicker: you then say that you're planning to come in to NY in the fall, because you are planning to see Sam Zygmontowics, the country's most expensive violin maker. Even if he felt sorry for you, and reduced his prices by 50%, where are your funds suddenly coming from?"


Actually, it’s not unusual for people to visit makers whose instruments are out of their price range, or to try instruments they're not in a position to buy. It can be educational, or part of planning for the future.

June 20, 2012 at 07:17 PM · David - I really hope you're right as this applies to Patrick. We'll see how this plays out.

June 20, 2012 at 07:50 PM · I don't know what's going on with Patrick, and don't have a conclusion to offer. It just sounded like Butterlin was about ready to grab a thick rope with a noose on one end and throw it over a tree limb:

"now that we've established for certain that Patrick Lengkong is a liar and a con artist" (Butterlin's posts have been edited since). I was thinkin' at the time that a different perspective on one of the issues raised might provide a little more balance.

June 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM · "A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain."

-- Oscar Wilde “Lady Windermere's Fan”

give the kid a break...

June 20, 2012 at 09:11 PM · I hope a couple of people here never serve on a jury. A lot of jury-convicted people have been proven innocent when DNA evidence was retroactively applied to their cases.

Present evidence, advise caution, and leave it at that, perhaps?

June 20, 2012 at 09:46 PM · @ David. Amen.

This whole thread hangs out there and anyone curious about the op can google and will find this among all the rest. No one here was injured, except maybe in trusting.

June 21, 2012 at 01:03 AM · Hi although I do not know how you all think this is scam? I will post pictures later on of the damage violin and bow. As for visiting Sam Z. I had emailed Mr. Klayman that I can pick up the case in the fall when I go to New York to see Sam Z. As in I will see how he makes his violins as I am interested in the sound production of the violin. I had never once mentioned that I was going to buy one of his violins, Mr. Klapyman I have no idea how you got that idea. As you fellow members can see the evidence of the email here

Hi Mr. Klaymen! I would be happy to get a case from New York. I'm

expecting to go there in the fall to see Samuel Zygmuntovic and what is

the case? Pictures? If you can send it down here that would be great I

might be able to ask my parent's to pay for shipping

That is all to see Sam Z.

As for the Italian violin it was a violin that I receive during my Freshman year of High School as an upgrade violin after paying the rental fee they offered me store credit towards an Intermediate violin.{Edit} I had then sold that violin in order to pay for my new violin....err well old one

I am not sure how this is a scam seeing that I had already proven someone guilty. I had only asked for a violin that that someone is willing to sell at a lower price. I don't know know who you all got the idea that I wanted a free violin. I've had some people email me letting me borrow a violin of theirs but I had kindly refused as I cannot handle a violin that is on loan.

The idea of having some people think this was a scam actually hurt me.

@Jocye Lin my parent's had saved enough money for a violin and upgraded in February.

This will be sorted out on Monday. I will provide pictures of the damaged violin with a note next to it that reads my name so that it will not seem like another of a "Scam"

I hope this clarify things up.

June 21, 2012 at 03:50 AM · Here is a rare case in which I wouldn't mind being proven wrong. My own jury of one is still out at this time.

June 21, 2012 at 05:10 AM · Hi Patrick, I'm glad you wrote just now. I was just about to jump on and defend you saying that nowhere did I see you ask for a freebie. It was a horrible thing to have happen to you in the first place, without all this scam stuff going on as well. Maybe we've all learned a little lesson about taking a bit more care in the future. It was a little like the 'trial by media' situations we have been seeing lately. You've probably heard about the case from Australia where 32 years ago, a baby was taken by a dingo from a campsite at Ayers Rock (Uluru). Well, at first there was plenty of sympathy. Then there were the doubters who didn't believe dingos would do this and had never heard of this before, loud and vocal. In the finish so many people including the media had decided the mother was guilty of murdering her baby, despite witnesses to the contrary, that she was put in prison after a long trial. There was misinformation aplenty, untruths and evidence covered up. Then a few years later she was released based on the discovery of the baby clothes in a dingo lair. Just this month there was the result of a final commission to find out the truth, and the Judge apologised to the mother and father, finding that indeed the baby was taken by a dingo after all, and that information that was needed so long ago was covered up or not available. Apparently an expert had told this most recent inquest of 239 reports of dingos attacking humans in Queensland between 1990 and 2011. I know it's a big one, but it's a good example of how an innocent situation can get out of control very quickly.

I hope you do get the rest of your money from the incident and that it all turns out well.

June 21, 2012 at 05:51 AM · I initially was sympathetic, however I now have signficant reservations.

I checked the zip code of the Woodbridge HS for reported crimes

3001 Old Bridge Road Woodbridge, VA 22192

I found no reports from around the time of the reported event until the present.

If it had been reported to the police, it would be public record, and would show on one or both of those sites.

At this time, I am a bit skeptical of the event.

June 21, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Patrick, don't go breaking a 15K Italian violin so that you can post pictures here. I'm sure you can find one already broken if you search Google pictures.

There are too many inconsistencies, sudden changes, and backtracks in your story for me to believe it as it stands.

June 21, 2012 at 11:45 AM · Millie - slightly off-topic, but I think I saw a movie based on that incident.

June 21, 2012 at 12:37 PM · Hi Raphael, you would have. They made a movie about it in 1988. It was called Evil Angels, but released as Cry in the Dark. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill played the parents. I haven't actually seen it myself, probably because I followed the real events fairly closely. But it was supposed to be very well done.

I still think we need to go easy here re Patrick's problem. Remember there are students or minors involved and there might be reasons that the police report isn't on public record for all to see. Not that I know how things work over there, but let's not jump to conclusions over something that could be doubly traumatic to a young man if this turns out to be a genuine situation, which I am prepared believe it is.

June 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM · A number of years ago, I participated with several others in filing a police report/criminal complaint. The incident never made the news, and I was unable to find out anything more about it except by filing a "freedom of information act" request. I don't know why.

June 21, 2012 at 03:53 PM · The thing I found the most strange is that he never once mentioned the maker of his $15,000 violin. Also, if one had a $1,500 violin that one referred to as "my Italian violin," and upgraded to a much more expensive violin - would one still refer to the latter the same way as before?!

BTW, about his violin, last November he said: "I got mines from Brobst for $1200 for violin and bow...I spent $1,441 for all my stuff" (I would consider this consistent with the $1,500 figure.)

It's not clear whether he has ever owned a Bobelock Corregidor, but as recently as April, he said his case was a Tonareli Half-moon. He was looking for a case under $200 in March, had bought a case by American Case Company last October, but implied that he no longer owned it. It doesn't sound like his family is flushed with money, so why would they have bought a Corregidor after having recently bought a new case?

He was asking lots of questions when he was looking for a case, so one would imagine if he had such a huge decision about acquiring an expensive violin, he would have come here to ask some questions...

It's also not clear to me who is paying the $16,000 in his story, and I wish our legal system were as efficient as where Patrick is...

Like Laurie, I don't know what did or did not happen to his violin. I'm just pointing out some inconsistencies and things that don't make sense to me.

June 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM · I'm still prepared to eventually apologise to Patrick if and when all the dust clears, and I really come to feel that I was mistaken in my suspicions.

But for now, I am still struck, as a number of others are, by the many inconsistentcies and peculiarites of this story. As of now I'm not sure whether there are children stuck down the proverbial well or not. But I just reminded myself that Patrick is the same young man who posted on May 1 about a terrible teacher, who not only often grabbed his violin and bow to demonstrate, but had also thrown his violin, bow and case halfway across the room. It seems that Patrick has the worst luck with his instruments! Let me emphasize that I consider ANY sort of bullying or abuse INTOLERABLE. At the same time, without justifying what he says happened one iota, it behooves one to examine one's attitudes and the vibes one may be putting out, for growth and self-preservation, and indeed, violin preservation.

So maybe Patrick is telling the truth, but not very clearly, and I and others owe him an apology. And maybe he's been trying to scam us - and this is a very serious matter. And finally I'll really go out on a limb and wonder if just maybe there is a Munchausen syndrome at work here?

June 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM · There does seem to be an underlying theme of instrument destruction.

June 21, 2012 at 10:50 PM · I still remember his blogs (they have since been deleted): one was about all the bad things that happened to his instrument in one day (improbably), and the other is the same one that Marjory posted, in which he said bullies threw his violin into recycle bin... Then of course, there was the thread about his teacher... (I wish I could choose what to remember...)

So when I read the original post, my alarm meter went sky high - I wondered why any parents would give such expensive violin to a kid who always had bad things happened to his instrument, let alone letting him bring it to that environment (and without insurance)...

June 21, 2012 at 11:09 PM · I doubt there ever was an expensive Italian violin. I think Patrick was just bigging up his inexpensive Chinese Lamberti violin, hoping to get some free gear, and attention seeking.

Cheers Carlo

June 26, 2012 at 03:32 AM · Whether or not Mr. Lengkong is lying or not, I had not expected this community of adults to jump on the witch hunt bandwagon. This is a prime example how words can be perceived so easily and yet so wrongly at times when it really doesn't matter all that much.

The way I see it, Mr. Lengkong posted here a story. It might not have been true. It might not have been entirely false either. Yet everyone forgets that what he's doing is what most of us would do if we needed a replacement: find a new one, hopefully at a lower price, at least for the time being. is a useful resource and I would not hesitate myself to come here for advice and for help. He did not ask for anything for free. He resolved his issues and he seems satisfied with it. At the same time, this is a guy whose posts haven't been entirely consistent in other threads. So what? Don't bother, then. Vigilantism isn't necessary here, just caution around a guy a few times younger than you. If anything, this has been a most entertaining read how a high schooler has effectively created chaos among a couple adults.

I revived this thread after a few days of its last post because a sense of closure is necessary for this incredulous string of events.

June 26, 2012 at 05:12 AM · I was persistent in pursuing this matter because if his story were made up, and he came here to ask for a violin/case, or even just a discount (which would not have otherwise been given if not for the sob story), it's a serious matter - "false pretenses with intent to defraud" is a crime!

Even though he did not explicitly ask for anything for free, he did say he can only pay 0-$1,200 for a violin, and I'm not sure whether paying $0 can be considered a purchase. It also sounded like he did not offer to pay when Raphael offered him a case (again, I can only assume that Raphael only offered the case for free because of Patrick's story).

My main objective was to warn the community (and I had to provide additional evidences because apparently some people still believed in his story after striking inconsistencies in his narrative). My second objective was hoping that a lesson would be learned by Patrick (and others who are reading this thread) that lying, which might not seem like a big deal, can have serious consequences...

Like Raphael, I would be happy to be wrong, and am prepared to apologize if my suspicions were proved wrong (and I'd be happy to help!). If however my suspicions were true, I do hope that Patrick comes back and apologizes, instead of leaving the forum forever. It takes courage to own up one's mistakes. I believe in giving a young person a second chance and the power of forgiveness. I encourage other v.commers to do the same.

June 26, 2012 at 07:56 AM · Joyce, excellent post! I think you sum up eloquently the thoughts of many of the readers who have been following this thread.

Cheers Carlo

June 26, 2012 at 11:11 AM · Joyce said:

"Even though he did not explicitly ask for anything for free, he did say he can only pay 0-$1,200 for a violin, and I'm not sure whether paying $0 can be considered a purchase. It also sounded like he did not offer to pay when Raphael offered him a case (again, I can only assume that Raphael only offered the case for free because of Patrick's story)."

That's exactly right. And "vigilantism"? Come on! Besides the inconsistencies that Joyce and others have pointed out re the description of his violin and the value, here is a fellow that we are expected to believe has had his teacher throw his violin, bow and case half-way across the room, has bullies throw it in a dumpster, and finally, while on a quick bathroom break it finally gets utterly destroyed. That was a pretty resilliant violin until part 3 of this tale! If Patrick IS telling the truth, I sure wouldn't want to stand next to him during a lightning storm! And if I and many others are dubious and incredulous, that hardly amounts to vigilantism.

Like Joyce, I'm still prepared to apologize if proven wrong. But if Patrick is lying, it would ultimately be in his best interests if he came clean. Remember the boy who cried wolf? One day he may really be in trouble, and no one may believe him.

June 26, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Wow, did I open a can of worms! After seeing where this topic was going I decided to bow out - I have enough stress in my life already. BTW I agree with Joyce's post too. There was clearly an attempt to use sympathy to get a violin at below price. If the events did not occur as stated I'm afraid that really is at the very least unethical, and at the most....

Of course (if the reservations prove correct) this could be a desperate and misguided kid making a stupid mistake. I'm willing to give him that doubt....

June 26, 2012 at 01:57 PM · I sure would love to know what happened to that kid that was trialed yesterday for smashing the violin, and check out the photos of Patrick's smashed violin that he was going to post here... Patrick, if you're still with us please don't keep us hanging, the suspense is unbearable!

June 27, 2012 at 09:20 PM · Thanks John.....that was funny.

July 11, 2012 at 01:09 AM · I remember reading through this post with great interest when I was still just lurking the boards. I was really curious as to what happened in the end. Patrick had noted that he would provide a statement as to what happened but he never did. I'm still very curious. What was the final resolution?

July 11, 2012 at 02:36 AM · Patrick, are you there? Are any children really down this proverbial well? Any dingos really eat any babies here?



July 11, 2012 at 02:37 AM · I think it's time to seal up the well.

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