San Ramon teen pleads for thieves to return stolen cello

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KTVU) -- One hour of shopping in San Francisco's Union Square came at a high price for a San Ramon teen after her beloved $8,500 cello was stolen from her mother's SUV by parking lot prowlers earlier this month.

The teen pleading with the thieves to return expensive instrument.

"It was handmade. It was unlike any other," said 16-year-old Serena, whose parents didn't want to reveal their last name.

The young cellist and her mom were in Union Square on April 11th shopping for an outfit for an upcoming recital when the instrument was swiped.

They had parked at the Ellis-O'Farrell garage near Macy's at around 8 p.m. that night. When they returned an hour later, the backwindshield was smashed and the cello was gone.

"How could anyone do this?" Serena asked. "How could anyone do this to anybody?"

San Francisco Police released surveillance video from the parking garage on the night of the auto burglary. It shows a woman rifling through the vehicle.

A male accomplice pulls up in a four-door sedan and the woman is seen putting the cello in the back of the car.

"This looks very evident that they were driving around looking to find anything in any vehicle." said San Francisco Police Officer Carlos Manfredi.

In addition to catching the thieves' faces, the footage also shows a distinctive dent on the driver's side front door of their getaway car.

With the digital evidence so clear, Serena hopes the thieves are caught soon and the cello returned.

"It's so important to me," the high school sophomore told KTVU. "It's so unique that I could never find it anywhere else, anything with the same rich sound and that gives me so much confidence. I just want it back."

Police said the thieves may not realize what they have, adding that you can't take an $8,500 cello to a pawn shop or sell it to another musician without raising some eyebrows.