Cello returned with damage

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A woman told police she was driving in Silver Lake, saw the 320-year-old Stradivarius in its case near a dumpster, and loaded it in her car with the help of a homeless man. She took it home to her boyfriend, a cabinet maker, thinking he would repair a crack and some scratches or turn it into a compact disc holder. Not until a week and a half later did she hear that the Strad had been stolen from Philharmonic cellist Peter Stumpf's front steps. She arranged through a lawyer to turn it over to police, and after questioning they believe her story. Experts say the damage should be repairable. Also: LAT columnist Patt Morrison is intrigued that the theft had been caught on video.

Previously on L.A. Observed: He left it outside??, Strad still missing


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