(MOUNT VERNON, Wash.) — Police believe a Washington woman used her toddler to steal an antique violin from a teenager Wednesday afternoon at a local restaurant.
Mount Vernon Police Lt. Chris Cammock told ABC News that 17-year-old Kalob Tatum entered a McDonald’s with his backpack and violin after school. When he went up to the counter to order a burger, he turned around, and his 100-year-old Czechoslovakian copy of a Stradivarius violin was missing.
“When I saw the violin gone, my heart just dropped,” Tatum told ABC affiliate KOMO News. “I had this feeling that something terrible just happened.”
Tatum has been playing the violin since kindergarten, according to Lt. Cammock. The teen earned a scholarship to perform in New York this summer.
“I got a scholarship to a two-week camp and… I do not have a violin and I don’t have the money to get a new one right now,” Tatum told KOMO.
Officers searched for the violin immediately following the theft.
“On the security video that’s inside the McChevron (McDonald’s there is attached to a Chevron gas station), it showed a young girl who picked up the violin and left the restaurant with her mother,” Cammock said. “By depiction, it looks like the mother would have been aware that her daughter was taking it.”
Officers then took the footage obtained from the store and circulated the girl’s picture.
On Thursday, Cammock says an officer on patrol spotted the mother and daughter walking near a school.
“The officer stopped her, had a conversation with her and asked for the violin,” Cammock said. “The violin was then returned to the victim.”
The mother, who was not identified, faces possible charges of theft, Cammock says.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Ivaylo Vezenkov, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN