Harmony restored after theft on train 107


by Alexander Lawrie

A MUSICIAN who had a rare instrument stolen after a gig has had it returned – after finding it for sale on Ebay.

Rob St John, 22, and his band were travelling back to Edinburgh by train after playing a gig in Glasgow in April when he noticed the band’s prized harmonium had disappeared.

After reporting the theft to the transport police, the up-and-coming singer songwriter put the experience down to bad luck.

Thinking the harmonium was gone for good St John started to scour websites looking to buy a replacement.

But as the Edinburgh-based musician searched Ebay for a similar piece, he could not believe his eyes when he spotted the band’s stolen harmonium advertised for sale.

St John immediately contacted Ebay and the police to alert them to the sale and the expensive musical instrument was instantly pulled from the auction site.

Mr St John said: “We were traveling back to Waverley from Glasgow after playing a gig at Tchai Ovna and had all our gear packed away in the luggage compartment.

“The train was really busy and we were keeping our eye on things, but must have turned our back for a couple of minutes when the train stopped at Falkirk High.

“We only noticed it was missing when the train pulled away, and by then it was too late.

“The harmonium actually belongs to Rob Waters, a bandmate of mine, and he was absolutely gutted to have it nicked.”

But police managed to track down the sneak thief who had taken the £400 harmonium after the former Edinburgh University graduate spotted it for sale on Ebay.

He said: “Luckily for us the thief was a bit dozy because he used a picture of the tea chest we had the harmonium stored in on the Ebay site. It was covered in our handwriting making it really easy to spot.

“I just couldn’t believe our luck. We had been searching for a new one, and in the faint hope of finding our own one, but I really thought it was gone for good.”

“It actually sold to some unlucky punter for £50. I just hope he managed to get his money back.”

The rare instrument was put up for sale on the Ebay auction site by a seller in the Falkirk area calling himself paulpat1964.

A British Transport Police spokesman said: “On a positive note, the harmonium has been recovered and has been returned to its rightful owner.

“Our enquiries regarding the theft are still ongoing.”

A spokesperson for Ebay said: “We are the most transparent online marketplace.

“When an item is confirmed as stolen by law enforcement agencies, we remove it promptly from the site, as we understand happened on this occasion.

“We work very closely with the Police and last year alone, we helped to secure over 200 arrests and guilty verdicts in nearly 70 cases.”