Serbia returns precious stolen violin to France

A precious violin stolen nearly two years ago in Paris and return to France by Serbian authorities on March 23, 2017

Nearly two years after it was stolen from a Paris home, a violin worth 300,000 euros, found in Serbia, will soon be back with its owner after it was handed over to French authorities in Belgrade, France's embassy said Thursday.

The precious instrument disappeared from a house in Paris in the northern 19th arrondissement in a burglary on June 8, 2015.

The thieves also took clothes and jewelry, but the violin was the most valuable object estimated at some 300,000 euros ($324.000), according to a source close to the investigation.

It was made by Filippo Fasser, a renowned Italian luthier who provide key information to French investigators which solved the case.

Barely a month after the burglary the luthier from Brescia, in northern Italy, received an email from a mysterious correspondent, a Serb who wanted to have a violin assessed. The sender attached photographs of the instrument.

Fasser got in contact with one of his Parisian colleagues who then alerted the owner.

Contacted by their French counterparts, Serbian police identified the sender of the email, who was from Prijepolje, a small town in the Balkan country's poor south.

The violin was found in a search of the unidentified Serb's house in September 2015 and, after following Serbian procedures in such cases was eventually released to French authorities in Belgrade.

At a ceremony to hand over the instrument on Wednesday, Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and the French ambassador to Belgrade, Christine Moro, praised their countries' police cooperation, according to an embassy statement.

"Moro noted that a similar probe had already provided results several years ago, with a Claude Monet painting being returned after it had been stolen in France and found by Serbian police," the statement said.

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