DETECTIVES are appealing for anyone who saw a man stealing a priceless violin from the luggage rack of a train at Whitton Station to come forward.
CCTV of the brazen theft, recorded on the 07:45 London Waterloo to Putney service, on Wednesday, February 8, has now been released by British Transport Police to help solve the crime.
Detective Sergeant Pete Thrush, the officer leading the investigation, said: “The victim, a 30-year-old woman from Lewisham, had boarded the service carrying a lot of other luggage so had stored her violin in the overhead rack of the train.
"But as she rose to leave the service a short while later at Putney station she noticed her violin was missing from the luggage racks.
“I have since viewed CCTV from on board the train and at the station which shows a man taking it from the racks before leaving the train at Whitton rail station in Hounslow, carrying the violin.
“The primary focus of our investigation is to get these very precious items returned to their rightful owner.
“The missing violin, which is thought to be worth in the region of £25,000, was stored inside a small black Gewa violin case.
"The violin is modern, but made to look antique, light in colour and made by Frederic Chaudiere, with wording inside it reading ‘Frederic Chaudiere Fecit Montpellieranno 2011’.
"It has Infeld purple strings and a gold Olive E string, and the case also contained a Tim Bakergold bow."
DS Thrush said after making local enquiries he is now appealing for the public’s help to return the violin to its owner:
“This was a very busy carriage, so I am certain that someone will have seen something, if you did, I am urging you to come forward and speak with police.
"Although the violin and the bow 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 they couldn’t be sold for anything near to their true value.
“The loss of this violin has more than monetary value to the victim who, as you can imagine, is traumatised to have lost it.
"I appeal to those who have these items, or anyone who has any knowledge of their whereabouts, to come forward so they can be returned to their rightful owner."
Anyone with information should contact BTP on Freefone 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference B6/LSA of 21/02/12.