Irreplaceable violin stolen from Regina Symphony Orchestra musician

A centuries-old violin was stolen from a musician with the Regina Symphony Orchestra last week and she searched alleys and online sales for hours last week in the hope of finding it.

Katie Gannon, a 10-year-old violinist with the orchestra, says her 1790s Italian violin was stolen in a break and enter while she was at work. She returned home on March 23 with her front door wide open and her pet cats roaming the porch.

At first she didn’t think her precious violin could be missing, after all, who would steal a violin from a house full of electronics and other items, she thought.

When she called her mother, her mind went to the violin.

“And then I kind of snapped,” she said, adding that the conversation ended with her parked at her house, sobbing.

“I just thought if the instrument is gone, that’s the worst thing that can happen.”

Katie Gannon said she constantly scoured back alleys, shops and advertising websites for the Italian fiddle which she says dates from the late 1700s. (Facebook/Miranda Hughes-McKnight)

They also took a television, her children’s Nintendo Switch and art supplies, she said.

Regina Police Department officers found the TV cabinet in a back alley, she said.

Since the night her violin was stolen, she’s spent hours scouring the alleys, trash cans and recycling bins, fearing the thieves weren’t aware of the violin’s true value — both monetary and emotional — and threw it away.

It cost Gannon around $18,000 when she bought it 15 years ago, but it’s been a part of her ever since.

She says she has performed in Regina, Newfoundland and the Canary Islands.

“My whole life is based on teaching, playing and performing, so I use it all the time and it’s just not there anymore,” Gannon said.

“It’s really painful.”

Gannon has also called pawnshops and antique shops and checked Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and other places she thinks it might pop up.

WATCH | The violinist asks for the return of the stolen instrument:

Regina Police Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said officers believe the suspects left through the back door and down the alley.

She said whoever broke into the house left some items behind and these are being scanned for fingerprints.

Popowich wasn’t sure how long it would take for the items to go on sale, if that’s the burglar’s intention, but there isn’t much of a market for a violin.

Officers scoured the neighborhood for video of the theft. They are asking anyone with information to contact the Regina Police or Crime Stoppers.

For now, Gannon is using another violin loaned to her by another musician in the orchestra, but she is also showing patience as she watches the instrument.

“What people have said is that things like this tend to show up months later,” she said.

Katie Gannon’s violin, which she bought while in undergrad about 15 years ago, was among items stolen from her home in a break and enter, she said. (Submitted by Katie Gannon)

Gannon said the Italian fiddle had no label and she was unsure of the maker, but had distinct features like black geared pegs; three sealed cracks on the back that vein to the edges; and a small crack at the top right. It was also caught inside its case: a plush black case with backpack straps and a distressed brown interior.

Inside were other items, including pictures of her family and a student’s sparkly purple bow.