Musician reunited with her stolen cello after thief took it from car
A THIEF stole a cello just hours after he had appeared in court — then attempted to sell it at Cash Converters.
Cellist Gabby Guarino, aged 27, reported the instrument missing after two men broke into her car in Chorley Street, Bolton, shortly after she had parked.
Officers saw Sean Lever on CCTV carrying the cello around the town centre with a woman — just hours after he appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court last Tuesday for two other thefts.
He was arrested within an hour of the crime being reported — but did not have the cello on him.
Sgt Steve Lunn and PC John Hepke, from Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, discovered Lever had tried to sell the instrument to Cash Converters and Cash Generators, but was knocked back by both.
So he started searching bins in the town centre as they knew it would be dumped.
After reviewing the CCTV footage in the Post Office pub in Bradshawgate, the two police officers saw the criminals putting the cello in an industrial bin.
When they checked in the bin the instrument had already been removed — but it was soon recovered from a cleaner who had removed the cello from the bin for safekeeping.
Miss Guarino, an enterprise youth worker at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, was reunited with her instrument the next day.
She said: “I was so upset when I found out it had been stolen. I was really crying.
“It cost around £350, but it is so sentimental to me. I didn’t think I would get it back.
“When I found out it wasn’t at Cash Converters, I thought it would have been stashed somewhere or dumped and I was looking on eBay for it.
“I was hopeful I would get it back but I didn’t have much faith.
“The police were so good and understanding. They really went out of their way, which is really touching. I will avoid leaving anything in my car again.”
The instrument has sentimental value to Miss Guarino, from Ramsbottom, who bought the cello with money left to her by her former boyfriend, Matthew Tuppen. He died five years ago, aged 21.
She bought the cello because her former boyfriend loved music and they were both in a pop-folk band, Second Hand Wings.
PC Hepke said: “We’re naturally delighted to reunite Gabby with the cello, something that is clearly of great sentimental value to her.
“Once we received the call that Gabby’s car had been broken into we worked together with Bolton Council’s CCTV team, Cash Converters, Cash Generator and Booth’s Music and got a great result.
“I would take this opportunity to reiterate our year-round message of not leaving valuables on display in your vehicles.”
Lever, of St Ann Street, Halliwell, appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court on Thursday and admitted the theft.
He will be sentenced on September 18.
Police are searching for the second suspect.