Second-hand shop helps reunite festival performer with stolen £3000 violin

John Bowlerwell reunited with his violin. Picture Ian Rutherford
John Bowlerwell reunited with his violin. Picture Ian Rutherford
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A MUSICIAN who had his £3000 violin stolen while performing at the Festival has been reunited with his instrument after the thief tried to sell it at Cash Converters.

John Bowlerwell had been playing with a band at the Carrubbers Christian Centre on the High Street shortly before he realised the Zeta five-string electric violin had vanished.

Staff at the second-hand store in Leith Walk alerted police after someone attempted to sell the custom-built instrument despite knowing “nothing about violins”.

Mr Bowlerwell had been performing for festival-goers at the centre where he attends church.

The 28-year-old, who works as an electrical engineer, said: “I’d been playing in the band and was packing up when I noticed my violin was missing. I tried to think whether I had moved it somewhere else but eventually it was clear that it had been stolen.

“I was contacted by the police after someone had tried to sell it at a second-hand store and staff alerted them.

“I thought my chances of recovering it had been quite good because it’s so rare. I knew how much it was worth but I thought it was unlikely the person who stole it would realise. Either they’d find out it was valuable and try to advertise it, in which case I’d track it down, or they’d take it to a 
second-hand shop because they were unaware of its value. But I was delighted to get it back.”

Police say they are following a “positive line of inquiry” to trace the suspect.

A police spokesman said: “Thanks to the excellent relationship the search and recovery team has established with Edinburgh retailers, we were quickly made aware when the violin showed up and are now pursuing the suspect.

“I would like to thank staff at the store for their assistance.”

Andrew Inglis, store manager at Cash Converters on Leith Walk, said: “I am proud that our staff were able to conduct a thorough investigation into the item, and as a result alert the police. We have not only shared the seized item with the force but also passed over our CCTV footage of the customer.”

Comic attacked

A COMEDIAN performing at the Festival was left scarred for life after being punched in the face in an unprovoked attack.

Ian Fox needed stitches to the side of his nose following the assault in Candlemaker Row.

Mr Fox, a writer and photographer, said he did not even see the man who attacked him.

A police spokesman said: “The victim suffered a small cut to his nose during the incident, at around 11.30pm on Wednesday, August 22.

“The suspect is described as male, white, in his 30s, between 5ft 9in and 6ft tall with a medium build and short blond hair. He was wearing a black T-shirt with green stripes on the sleeves and blue jeans.”