Donald Rabin carefully placed his flute made of silver and 18-carat gold next to him in a Chicago metro train.
“Don’t forget it, Donald, don’t forget it,” he recalled thinking as he clashed with other items, including suitcases and laptops, on 29 January. He Spent just two weeks with his family in St. Louis and stayed in Chicago to visit a friend for the weekend before flying to Somerville, Mass.
As the blue line train pulled into the Logan Square stop, Mr. Rabin, 23, a graduate student at the Boston Conservatory in Berkeley, collected his things, got out of the car and took the ride to the station stairs. Climbed on
Suddenly, panic seized him.
“Oh my God, my God, my God,” he recalled thinking. “I don’t have a flute.”
For the next four hours, Mr. Rabin traveled from train to train, still carrying his luggage, as he searched in vain for the instrument, which he had bought for $ 22,000. He Spent the weekend at each of the Blue Line and Chicago Police station stops.
He then started news outlets across the city, hoping to help with the publicity. He She posted a plea for help on Facebook describing the sentimental value of the flute, which she said she bought in 2016 with money that she had inherited after her grandmother died of breast cancer.
He Refusal to lose hope.
“There has been some good soul that turned in there,” Mr. Rabin recalled thinking. “I’m going to put all my faith in this person.”
It turns out that someone had found the flute, but Mr. Rabin would need more than faith to get it back.
On January 30, Gabe Coknett, 42, the owner of West Town Jewelery & Loan, said he was getting ready to close his shop when two men and a woman went to the store to offer him silver and gold flutes. Of.
According to Mr. Coknett, one of the 33-year-old men, who identified himself as Lucas Misetti, said he wanted $ 7,500 for the instrument and began to tell a story of how the flute belonged to his father who died. Were.
Mr. Coconette, who has been in the pawn shop business for 20 years, was suspected.
“I listen to my mummy-and-dad-dying stories all the time,” he said in an interview on Saturday.
But Mr. Cocoanut agreed to lend the man $ 500 and keep a flute for the weekend so that he could research the instrument and find out its value. He Took the man’s identity card and recorded his name and date of birth, along with a photo of the flute, in LeedsOnline, a website that helps track stolen goods.
The next evening, Mr. Cocoanette was watching the news with his wife, when Mr. Rabin’s story flashed across the screen.
Mr. Koknet said that his wife asked if she was the same flute that was at his pawn shop.
“Yes, it is,” he replied, then called the Chicago Police Department.
On 1 February, m. Mcentee, his girlfriend and friends returned to the store and asked Mr. Coconate to buy the flute or give it back, stating that he had other stores willing to give him $ 10,000.
On the advice of the police, Mr. Koknet lied to them and said that he had sent a flute to see if it was real gold.
The next day Mr. Mentally returned, took out a garland of cash and said that he wanted the flute back.
“I said, ‘Lucas, this has been the whole news,” Mr. Cocoanut called back on Saturday. “You’re not in trouble.” You have not stolen it, but it is not your flute. ”
“Finders, keepers,” answered Mr. Monte, according to Mr. Kokanet, who refused to take the cash or return the flute.
That’s when Mr. Mcentee became agitated, Mr. Coconate said.
Mr. Kokanet then telephoned the Chicago police, who over the phone explained to Mr. Monti that the flute was the subject of an investigation and that they needed to release the pawn.
The Chicago Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Minty refuses to be interviewed.
Mr. Rabin, who went back to Boston that day, later received text messages from Mr. Monti, who was trying to hold the flute. He He said that he would return the equipment but first Mr. Rabin would have to wire him $ 550 so that he could return the loan he received from Mr. Coconnet.
Mr. Rabin called the police, who told him not to wire anything. On Wednesday, the police told him that they had recovered the flute.
He Flew back to Chicago, where officers returned the flute. As a thank you, Mr. Rabin played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for 20 officers at the station house. It was the first time he had played to a live, in-person audience since March.
Mr. Rabin said that he was so happy that he started crying.
“I was in a completely different world,” he said.
He He said he felt bad that Mr. Cocoanut was out of $ 500 and asked people on Facebook to help him raise money for the pawn owner.
Mr. Rabin said he was not angry with Mr. Monti, who has raised more than $ 13,000 on a GoFundMe page, which says he and his girlfriend “have both been homeless and locked up for years.” Mr. Rabin donated $ 25 to Mr. Monti and sent an additional $ 67 through an instant-payment app.
“I really understand that it shouldn’t have been money” said Mr. Rabin, who has taken a loan to pay for school and had to borrow money from friends to pay the rent. “We are the only humans on this planet. Everyone is bound to make mistakes in this way. “
He And Mr. Koknet spoke on Thursday about what happened. Mr. Koknet said that Mr. Rabin hoped that Mr. Mensay owed him $ 500 from the money he had raised.
Mr Cocoanut said he was not optimistic.