If there were airport police dogs who could sniff out the delicate, old-wood scents of a violin worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, Anthony Eugene Notarstefano would have been caught years ago.
The alleged violin thief from Long Beach connected to the 2006 robbery of violonist Mark Kashper's Hollywood home, which contained several violins worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, saw his first day in federal court today. Among the stolen items was a Carlo Tononi violin, which was owned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and valued at $225,000.
After the pricey stringed beauties were swiped from Kaspher's home, Notarstefano was spotted in France, trying to pawn the violins off for much less than they were actually worth, according to the FBI. A merchant on Paris's Rue de Rome noticed that Notarstefano was hawking his goods for way too little, and alerted the Parisian authorities.
Nostarstefano was charged in French court in connection with the illicit sales but was not immediately returned to the U.S. because he contested the extradition and remained in French custody for two years. He made his first appearance in federal court today. If convicted of the U.S. charges, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The expensive stringed goods have since been returned to their guardian.
(If you're wondering why those famed Carlo Tononi violins cost so much, take a listen below):
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