MANASSAS, Va. —
The violin that was stolen from Helen Ballou is not a 300-year-old Stradivarius, but it’s just as precious to her as one of those legendary instruments.
It’s not some cheap, factory-made fiddle, either. It is one of the first fine violins hand-crafted by Dennis Stone, who was something of a legend himself among Washington-area musicians.
“This is my baby because he built this for me,” Ballou said. “It’s one of those objects I would actually grab – I wouldn’t leave it in the house if my house was on fire.”
“Even though I was going through rough times, I could have probably pawned it like a lot of people do with their musical instruments,” she added as she described the challenges she’s faced. “No. I was starving, but rather than pawn my violin, I just opted to be hungry.”
This is a cold case that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s a story of unlikely connections and unforeseen consequences. It’s also a test of social networks in their broadest sense – the webs of friends and contacts developed during a lifetime long before Facebook or Twitter.
Someone reading this could provide the missing link that solves the mystery. If you share the story with everyone in your own social network who has any connection to violins, you might help find Ballou’s “baby.”