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.

Comments (17)
  1. Liquid Nails says:

    How stupid can one be?
    Great musician, dumb person.

    1. Betty B. says:

      Not sure I’d say great musician. You know they all run in circles exaggerating each others greatness. Probably just trying to make a convincing case to the insurance company.

  2. Brett says:

    I wouldn’t even leave a cellphone or a 5 year old laptop in a locked vehicle in the uptown area. Don’t you people know that Mpls is full of criminals?

    1. Betty B. says:

      Yes. Full of criminals driving in from the suburbs and small towns to steal from people who have made a little honest money.

      1. g8bbgg says:

        Welfare is an honest living??? Minneapolis the Welfare center of the State, Betty you would not last an hour on the farm doing a real “Honest” day of work. You are living proof that the city of Minneapolis has more manure the all the farms in the State combined.

        1. Ratso Rizzo Gimme Some Soup says:

          Your mind is smaller than the town you are stuck in, even smaller than your…

  3. Cheers says:

    Well I got news for you, now the thief knows how much the Cello is worth and the stupid owner will probably never see his cello again, LOL

    How dumb can on be, seriously.

    1. g8bbgg says:

      Bon Fire time?????

    2. me says:

      With a price tag like that – he’s more likely to be caught.
      It’s not like they can just walk into a pawn shop with an article worth that much.
      Nor can they push it on craigslist either.

  4. Brett says:

    The thing is probably on it’s way to Europe by now. It’s the only place outside of the US where it can be appreciated and not traced easily.

  5. bubba136 says:

    stupid is as stupid does.

  6. Moe says:

    “He says the theft happened while he was celebrating his birthday. ”

    Happy Birthday.

  7. steve says:


  8. do do says:

    pretty stupid, or very rich as money has no real meaning……mommy and daddy will buy a new one for him, but i hears he got it back…..

  9. mike kiley says:

    Did it really get stolen?That has been running through my mind since I first read about it.Why would you take it with you in the first place,unless you were going to use it.Then conviently forgetting to lock your vehicle.Using as an excuse”not familar with how the vehicle locks” If I were the insurance company,I would seriously look into this,and maybe refuse to pay due to owner stupidity.

  10. Puppies for all says:

    now he’s practicing on a borrowed instrument… I think thats what got him in this mess in the first place.

  11. Bono says:

    Ouch people! Give the guy a break. He’s probably mad enough at himself for not locking the car door. I know this guy and he is an honest person, from a good family. This is not a scheme, just a really big bummer for a talented musician.

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