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Jail for violin thief Tony Graco who tried to string cops along
A man who stole a £25,000 violin from a train has been forced to face the music after he was sentenced to six months in prison.
Tony Graco, 33, of Whitton Dene, Hounslow, was travelling on the 7.45am train from London Waterloo to Whitton on Wednesday, February 8, when he spotted the violin in the luggage rack.
Catrin Win Morgan, 30, from Lewisham, had boarded the service with a large amount of luggage, including her £25,000 Frédéric Chaudière-made Stradivarius copy violin.
She placed the violin in the overhead rack above her and a while later realised the instrument was missing.
British Transport Police (BTP) released CCTV images showing Graco leaving the train at Whitton station carrying the violin.
In the early hours of Wednesday, February 29, after seeing his face in the paper, Graco handed the instrument in to staff at Hounslow station, claiming he found it on a train.
When asked why it had taken so long to return the violin, he said he had been working and had been busy.
Officers reunited Mrs Morgan with her beloved instrument and, following a forensic analysis of the case, Graco was arrested on suspicion of theft on Friday, March 2.
Graco later failed to return to his scheduled bail date of Friday, May 4, but was arrested again after officers in Hounslow stopped him as part of a routine check.
He was charged with theft on Thursday, July 19.
Graco was sentenced at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on Friday, January 4, after he pleaded guilty to the theft.
Earlier in the year, shortly after being reunited with the instrument, Mrs Morgan, said: “I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who helped ensure the safe recovery of my instrument.
“The past couple of weeks have felt almost like an out-of-body experience. I’m just looking forward to playing again and not having this huge cloud over me.”
Detective Constable Helen Magill from BTP said: “Hopefully this sentence will show that we will track down and do everything we can to bring those who think they can get away with stealing other people’s property to justice.”