Stolen cello worth €1.3 million returned to French musician after Facebook appeal
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A rare 18th century cello, which was stolen at knifepoint on February 15 from an award winning-musician outside her Paris home, was returned on Saturday after her social media appeal went viral.
She found the car with a window smashed and the famous cello in "good condition" in the car's back seat.
When the cello was first taken on Thursday, Gaillard immediately called the police and then took to Facebook, writing: "Help! My cello was stolen this evening in a red dark [sic] flightcase." The post, which was accompanied by photos, was shared over 10,000 times and also spread to other social media platforms.
The cello of #OphelieGaillard was stolen tonight in a red dark flightcase Francesco GoffrillerGautier CAPUCON (@GautierCapucon) February 15, 2018
1837 and her bow J.M Persoit 1825
Please #Retweet & if you have any informations contact Ophelie on FB or email email@example.com
Thank you for helpinghttps://t.co/6LKImucR3D pic.twitter.com/AdDc8sQpoy
The knife-wielding thief had first snatched Gaillard's phone and then taken the cello – worth nearly €1.3 million and on loan to her from CIC bank – as well.
The exceptional instrument was made in Udine, Italy in 1737 by luthier Francesco Goffriller, son of Venetian master cello-maker Matteo Goffriller. Gaillard also said that her bow was at least 200 years old.
Instrument not easy to 'fence'
The police unit in charge of armed robberies confirmed the cello’s return, stating: "It's not an instrument that can be sold to a fence on the corner".
Of the traumatising experience, Gaillard said, "The theft was very violent; I have not been able to sleep for two days. I am so relieved to have found it. I'm coming out of a two-day nightmare – it's a miracle."
In 2003, Gaillard was named the best new instrumental soloist at the Victoires de la Musique Classique, an annual French classical music award event.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)