Thief Steals $40,000 Cello From Musician’s SUV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police are using a recent theft case as an example of why you should never leave valuables in your vehicle.

Last week, a thief stole a $40,000 cello from inside 26-year-old Scott Lykins’ unlocked SUV. The theft happened on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown between 33rd and 34th streets. Police say whoever took the instrument may not be aware of its value.

Lykins is a professional cellist and a graduate from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. At the moment, Likins works as the artist director for the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd. He says the theft happened while he was celebrating his birthday.

“I was only planning to be [in Uptown] for a few hours but ended up spending the night. And when I went out in the morning, it wasn’t there,” Lykins said.

Lykins said he usually brings his cello inside when he goes out to eat or visit friends, so he wasn’t sure at first of what had happened.

“I ran back inside and asked everyone, like: did I bring it in? Did you see it?” Lykins said.

Then he remembered.

“I think I may have accidentally left it unlocked,” Lykins said.

Lykins said he hasn’t had any desire to practice without his cello. But he still has to; only now he’s practicing on a borrowed instrument. It, however, does not compare to the one that was stolen.

“The cello itself was made by a contemporary out on the east coast,” Lykins said.

Its maker was James McKean, and he makes one to two high caliber cellos a year. For Lykins, that makes replacing his beloved instrument particularly difficult.

Lykins had the cello insured, but he says getting his cello back is not just about the money. Learning a new instrument takes time – time Lykins doesn’t have, as he plans on auditioning to find a spot in an area symphonic orchestra soon.

Police say whoever took the cello has no idea how much it cost and that the thief wouldn’t likely know where to unload it.

Police would also like to remind people that a car – even a SUV — is not a safe.

“It brings about our message that we’ve always said: Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle,” said Sgt. Bill Palmer of Minneapolis police.

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