Suspected SF Thief Turns In Pricey Violin; Is Arrested

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man suspected of stealing an expensive violin from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music was arrested Thursday night after dropping the instrument off at a church, a police spokesman said Friday.

Scott Sylvester, 27, was arrested at about 8 p.m. Thursday after dropping off the violin to a priest at St. Mary’s Cathedral in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood that morning, San Francisco police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

The violin, worth about $23,000, was reported stolen on April 26 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, located at 50 Oak St., Dangerfield said.

The suspect allegedly went into a practice room at the conservatory and took the violin. He was spotted leaving with the violin in its case, which a couple of the victim’s friends identified as her case, Dangerfield said.

The friends followed the suspect to a San Francisco Municipal Railway Muni Metro light-rail vehicle but lost him once he got onboard, according to Dangerfield.

Police were able to determine what train the suspect was on based on information from the friends, and pulled the surveillance video from it to try to identify him, he said.

Sylvester decided to turn in the violin to a priest at the church Thursday morning, and he was arrested that night, Dangerfield said.

Police recovered the violin from the church and planned to reunite the instrument with its owner soon.

Sylvester was booked into jail on suspicion of grand theft, Dangerfield said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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  • mikie

    Saw his picture, looks like a clean cut white boy, but in fact has several warrants for past misdeeds. Put him to work …..

    • darling

      Yeah, put him to work doing community service not in jail. There are more important crimes out there right now. Violent and cruel crimes more deserving of the courts attention than this. This boy obviously has psychiatric issues and needs help. Plus there are no victims in this story. He brought the violin back. He seems to be trying to right wrongs. Thats at least a start. Also smearing him with past alleged.”misdeeds” is not fair. Where do you get off to make such a judgements anyway.

      • please

        you have no clue what you’re talking about. being separated from your instrument when you are playing at that high a level – as a career – is like being forcibly torn away from your infant child. you should shut up.

  • be fair

    I believe you are the one judging. he has psychiatric issues? I didn’t know you are his psychiatrist. You are in no place to judge the mental health of a stranger.

  • Tandy

    Scott does have a mental illness, diagnosed by several MD’s over the years. Non-violent people with mental illness do not belong in jail; jail does not cure folks with mental illness. Scoot needs treatment.

  • Paul

    Just because the instrument was eventually returned doesn’t make it a victimless crime, and just because the guy has problems doesn’t absolve him of responsibility.

  • Yuri

    I completely agree with Paul.

    If he has mental issues he should be treated however it does not remove him from being responsible – unless it’s proven that he’s no competent enough to understand right from wrong he needs to be held completely accountable. You need to understand he didn’t just steal, this was someone’s livelihood that he robbed. Not the same thing as stealing a rolex from a rich person. Also, what makes you think he returned the violin to correct the wrong? You don’t ever stop to think he was trying to unburden himself by letting go of the evidence? If the violin is back to the owner maybe then the manhunt will stop? Sounds kind of like a bunch of you know this guy and want him off the hook – but let the law judge him and determine what happens. He was arrested for a good reason and should get what he deserves.

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