Musician reunited with her stolen cello after thief took it from car
4:22pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
A CELLO was returned to a Ramsbottom musician after quick-thinking police officers worked around-the-clock to solve the crime.
Gabby Guarino, aged 27, was devastated to learn her treasured instrument had been stolen by thieves who broke into her car parked in Chorley Street, Bolton.
The instrument was of great sentimental value to Miss Guarino, who bought the cello with money left to her by her former boyfriend Matthew Tuppen, who died five years ago at the age of 21.
Police officers spotted criminal Sean Lever on CCTV carrying the cello around Bolton town centre with a woman — just hours after he appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court last week for stealing from another car.
He was arrested within an hour of the crime being reported — but did not have the cello with him.
Sgt Steve Lunn and PC John Hepke, from Bolton Central neighbourhood policing team, discovered Lever had attempted to sell the instrument to Cash Converters and Cash Generators, but failed. The officers then started searching bins in Bolton town centre as they knew it would have been dumped.
After reviewing CCTV footage in the Post Office pub in Bradshawgate, Bolton, they saw the cello being put in an industrial bin.
However, when they checked in the bin, the instrument had already been removed. But it was soon recovered from a cleaner who had taken the cello for safekeeping.
Miss Guarino, who lives in Ramsbottom and is an enterprise youth worker at Bolton Lads and Girls Club, has now been reunited with the instrument.
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.”
She bought the cello as her former boyfriend loved music and they were both in pop-folk band, Second Hand Wings, together.
The theft was especially devastating for Miss Guarino as in February she had been mugged in Bolton and her grandmother’s engagement ring was stolen.
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 our partners in the town centre, including Bolton Council’s CCTV, Cash Converters, Cash Generator, Booth’s Music and our own staff, which enabled us to achieve this great result.
“I would take this opportunity to reiterate our year-round message of not leaving valuables on display in your vehicles. I’m sure Gabby won’t be doing so again.”
Lever, of St Ann Street, Halliwell, Bolton, appeared at Bolton Magistrates Court last Thursday and admitted the theft. He will be sentenced next Wednesday.
Police are still making inquiries about a second suspect.
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