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A bluegrass musician on a three-week concert tour with his band was robbed in his Glendale hotel room Monday afternoon.
A fiddle, two bows, a Nook tablet and prescription drugs were among the items stolen.
The biggest heartbreak came, however, when musician Matt Thompson discovered that his prized possession, a hand-crafted mandolin, had also been taken by a thief.
"I purchased (the mandolin) in 2003," says Thompson. "It's even got a name: Sally Ann."
Thompson and his five-piece bluegrass band, Monroe Crossing, are visiting Arizona from Minnesota's twin cities. Tuesday night they had a date to perform at Fiddler's Dream, a small concert venue near Glendale Avenue and State Road 51.
But after returning to his motel from a movie on Monday afternoon, Thompson discovered his room door ajar.
"I immediately thought about my instruments. I look inside and they were gone and my heart just sunk. I was in shock," said Thompson.
"The world just collapsed on me because this is how I make my living," he added.
Thompson and his band mates immediately started posting online on bluegrass and music instrument-related websites warning people to be on the lookout for the stolen fiddle and mandolin.
"It's good to have a little hope," Thompson said, "but I was thinking I'm not going to see that mandolin again."
Twenty-four hours later, the mandolin resurfaced. A man was spotted walking through the parking lot of a local gas station trying to sell the $7,000 instrument for $300. One man ended up buying it.
"And he thought, 'Well, this is kind of strange,' but it just so happened his son wanted to learn to play the mandolin," Thompson said. "How many people are going to buy a mandolin on the street, you know?"
The man who purchased the mandolin in the gas station parking lot took it home and began to do some online research.
He found out the mandolin had been stolen and contacted Thompson during his Tuesday night performance and returned it in the middle of the group's concert.
"The place erupts," Thompson said. "People are on their feet cheering."
A good Samaritan named Jerry, a musician himself, is the one who purchased and ultimately returned the mandolin.
"This guy from Scottsdale, AZ, came through," added Thompson. "No one who went to that concert will ever forget what happened that night."
Monroe Crossing is scheduled to perform in New York City's Carnegie Hall in February.
Thompson said he is still hoping to recover his fiddle and bows.
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