August 18, 2009

Valuable violin left in cab, returned

A violinist said the $500,000 instrument he accidentally left in the back seat of a New York cab was returned to him 15 hours later.

Hahn-Bin Yoo, 22, who is preparing for his Carnegie Hall debut in October, said he was riding a cab home from a show at about 12:30 a.m. Monday and mistakenly got out of the taxi without his 184-year-old violin, the New York Post reported Tuesday.

The musician said he called 311 for help, and the operator put him in touch with New York Police Department Detective Ming Lee and Taxi and Limousine Commission officials Azam Kifaieh and Sam Shady. The investigators used global-positioning system records to determine that cabbie Dalbir Singh had dropped Yoo off, and the driver was contacted at his home. He confirmed the handcrafted Pressenda violin was in his cab, and officials returned it to the musician.

Losing an instrument is a greatest fear, even more than making a mistake on stage, Yoo said. To lose an instrument is devastating.