She Lost a $13K Flute in a Cab. She Got It Back 9 Years Later

A music store clerk called police after a man came in to get instrument appraised
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2021 11:12 AM CDT

Heidi Slyker says it was almost like losing a limb when she lost her beloved $13,000 flute in 2012. That missing piece is now back: Slyker's flute was returned with the help of a music store clerk. Slyker tells NBC Boston that she lost the silver flute in a taxi after performing at a piano bar and thought she'd never see it again. The Boston Police Department says officers reunited Slyker with the flute this week, two months after they were contacted by the employee. The employee said that after a man came into the store with the flute asking about its value, he got the man's contact number and took a picture of the flute—including the serial number. He called police when he realized it was probably the instrument reported missing in 2012.

Police say that when they spoke to the man who went to the music store, he claimed to have bought it from an "unknown male"—but officers "determined that the individual was a taxi cab driver who was driving a cab the day that the flute was reported missing." Slyker, who worked full time in high school to pay for the flute, tells CBS Boston that she's overjoyed to have it back. "I played it all growing up," she says, per NBC. "It took me through high school and college." Slyker says she had to quit the New England Philharmonic orchestra after losing the instrument and it took her five years to save up for a new one. Police say they plan to seek a charge of receiving stolen goods against the taxi driver. (A man who left a $22,000 flute on a Chicago train got it back after a homeless man saw his Facebook post.)

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