Even the most public places can be rife with thieves. A rare 300 year-old Stradivarius violin of violinist Min-Jin Kym — valued at £1.2 million pounds, or $1.8 million dollars — was stolen back in 2010 at a Pret a Manger sandwich shop, of all places. The instrument was finally recovered by police this morning, putting an end to a curious sandwich shop mystery, as The Guardian explained at the time:
Kym ... was reportedly on her way from London to Manchester when she nipped into a Pret a Manger near Euston station at around 8:30pm. She was eating with a friend, according to staff member Hafid Salah, who said the pair were "on computers and iPhones and not looking at their bags", when someone snuck away with Kym's black violin case. "She came up to me at the counter and said: 'Have you seen my bag? Call the police. Can you get the CCTV? You have to do something.'" Salah said. "She was really upset and panicking."
The Guardian piece also includes the classic British wry sense of humor: "'These items hold enormous sentimental and professional value,' her insurer said, making no comment on the quality of the sandwich," the article dryly reads. "Kym may have just traded a £1.2m Stradivarius for a mature cheddar and pickle sandwich." Oh, you Brits.
The story is a reminder to watch your belongings in public, but it does raise an important question: What are the most valuable items that have been left or stolen in public places?
1) Phoenix Diner bathroom
In 2009, a Phoenix woman accidentally flushed a $70,000, 7-carat diamond ring down the toilet at the Black Bear Diner. The "Diamond in the Roughage" (below) had to be retrieved by a poor plumber, but the ring's owner certainly didn't lack for the means to do so. "After a $250 cost to retile the bathroom and a $5,200 bill from Mr. Rooter, the couple tipped each plumber an extra $400 and an employee of the diner $200 for staying late," an article in The Arizona Republic reads.