San Diego Crime Stoppers (SAN DIEGO) — A rare cello worth $100,000 that was used in the soundtrack of the “Star Wars” films has been stolen from a hotel room in San Diego.
The cello belongs to John Walz, the principal cellist of the LA Opera Orchestra, who returned after a dinner on Thursday night to find everything from his room gone, including his beloved instrument.
Walz told ABC News the cello was custom-made for him by famed violin-maker Mario Miralles. He took it around the world for various performances and gigs, including while he was working with composer John Williams on the score of the three most recent “Star Wars” films — “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Rogue One.”
“Every musician’s instrument is special to them,” he said of his loss.
“You spend a great deal of time finding just the right instrument for you. You spend hours and hours a day with it in your hands and making music with it. In the end, it becomes a part of you,” he added.
Many custom-made instruments by well-known ateliers are treated like works of art and valued at hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars, Walz said.
The sale of a rare, one-of-a-kind item such as a cello would attract attention and make it difficult for burglars to find a buyer, Ken Impellizeri, detective sergeant of the San Diego Police Department, told ABC News.
“There’s nothing you can really do with it,” he noted.
Impellizeri said police had contacted the California Pawnbrokers Association and were monitoring websites such as Craigslist.
Police have asked the public for assistance on finding those responsible for the burglary. Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for anyone with leads.
Walz said he was in San Diego to teach at the Bravo! International Music Academy.
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