Antique violin stolen from local musician

Instrument valued at $17,000 was stolen from his truck




A local musician and his wife are desperately trying to track down a valuable violin stolen a little more than a month ago.

The violin was in Arthur LaBrant’s vehicle on April 20. He parked outside the music building at Clark College for an hourlong choir practice. When he returned, the back window of his truck had been smashed and the violin stolen. The incident occurred between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

“He had come from a practice where he needed his violin,” said Arthur’s wife, Rebecca LaBrant. “Other than that, he wouldn’t have had it with him.”

The violin was crafted in Paris in 1889. It was appraised at around $17,000 and its bow, which was also stolen, is valued at $2,200. A second bow was also taken.

Rebecca LaBrant said her husband purchased the instrument four years ago.

“It was quite some time before we were able to afford that kind of instrument,” she said.

Arthur LaBrant teaches band and choir at Gaiser Middle School. He is a part-time pastor and used the violin during services.

LaBrant also played the violin two years ago during his daughter’s wedding.

“I would love to get this violin back and go on with my life,” Rebecca LaBrant said. “I’ve spent hours and hours trying to get this violin back. I have to be my own Nancy Drew.”

Kim Kapp of the Vancouver Police Department said the case was assigned to a detective and is being actively investigated. Police have entered the violin into the Washington Crime Information Center, a statewide system that, among other things, can be used to flag stolen items brought into pawn shops and second-hand stores.

Kapp urged people not to keep valuables in their vehicles.

“Thieves today are not trying to jimmy the locks,” said Kapp, a spokeswoman. “They just bash out the windows and take what they want. Parking lots, in general, are being targeted for these smash-and-grab types of thefts.”