CHULA VISTA, Calif. — A 12-year-old girl whose flute was stolen is feeling thankful after the owner of a pawn shop gave her one to keep.
Surveillance video caught a man and woman suspected of trying to sell a stolen flute at a Chula Vista pawn shop on Oct. 26. The $500 brass Yamaha flute was inside the girl’s mothers’ minivan that was stolen the day before, about a half-mile away.
The van was found, but the flute belonging to the Chula Vista Middle School band student was gone.
“She was so upset. She plays every day,” said Anita Arce, mother of Josephina De La Cruz.
Josephina plays in her middle school’s advanced band five days a week and one day a week with both the high school and the San Diego Youth Symphony.
The owner of the pawn shop on Broadway said his manager spotted something suspicious when the suspected thieves tried to unload the flute.
“When flutes are rented or borrowed by schools or music stores, they put a special bar code on the instrument. He noticed that barcode was missing. That instantly threw up a red flag,” said the shop’s owner, Ron Krasner.
Krasner said two days later, another man came into his store and tried to sell the same flute. He was turned away.
Later that day, Arce went to the shop to see if anyone had tried to sell the flute.
“We told them they were here. At that point we went back to our video and got pictures of the thieves and gave them to police,” Krasner said.
When Josephina later visited the pawn shop, Krasner gave her a flute of her own to keep.
“Thanksgiving’s coming up. It’s something I’m grateful for. It’s really cool to have a flute of my own now,” said Josephina.
But Josephina and her mom still want to find the stolen flute, as it belongs to the school and they’ll have to pay for it if it’s not found.