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PIC | Jailhouse baroque: Student nabbed after allegedly trying to sell university’s stolen R60K cello for R6K

Undercover
police arrested a University of the Free State music student who allegedly
tried to sell a R60 000 cello which had been stolen from an orchestra that
performed at the university’s concert.

It
is alleged that he tried to sell the instrument for R6 000 on Facebook and that
people outside of South Africa showed interest.

Police
spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the cello disappeared at the event
in September when the orchestra decided to take a break and left their musical
instruments behind.

“Upon
their return after dinner, a professor realised that one of the instruments was
missing. Enquiries were made to students regarding the missing cello and no one
could account. A case of theft was opened and registered at Parkweg [police
station] for further investigation.

#sapsFS Parkweg #SAPS Tracing Task Team arrested 25yr-old music student for theft of ochestra instrument worth R60 000 @ University of Free State today. It was also alleged that he was asking R6000 for the instrument on Facebook. TMhttps://t.co/pNsxlQjsQk pic.twitter.com/Z5IPQOBrW8

— SA Police Service (@SAPoliceService) January 9, 2020

Then,
on Thursday this week – more than three months after the instrument disappeared
– police received a tip-off.

“On
Thursday, at about 11:00, the Parkweg Tracing Task Team received information
about a person who was allegedly selling a musical instrument that fit the
description of the one which had been reported missing,” Makhele said.

They
followed up and were led to a house in Parkweg where the student lived, where
they waited until he returned home.

“He was surprised by officers who requested to
see the instrument. After going through the instrument which had been painted
in a different colour, police established through visible markings that the
cello was the one stolen from the university. The suspect failed to [tell]
police why the cello was in his possession and was arrested,” Makhele
said.

He is expected to appear in court soon on charges
of theft and the possession of suspected stolen property.

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