SUNNYVALE, Calif. (WPVI) -- What might have looked like a routine car break-in in San Francisco recently has turned out to be anything but that. The thief got away with a very valuable violin.
The Sunnyvale college student who it belongs to says the 200-year-old instrument is like part of the family and she desperately wants it back.
Erica Buonanno is a master at the piano but her first love of music is the violin. Not just any violin but a rare instrument which she played at a recital several years ago.
It's so precious that Buonanno even gave it a name. "I named it Elizabeth. It has a name. It was like something I really made my own," she said.
Elizabeth the violin was made in London by George Craske in the early 1800s. It's valued at about $20,000.
Buonanno had loaned it to a family friend who needed it for music school auditions but on November 20, it was stolen from a Safeway parking lot on Webster St. in San Francisco.
She is devastated. "It's something I really didn't appreciate having taken from me." When asked if it was part of the family, she responded, "It definitely is!"
The violin is hard to miss inside a bright red, shiny case.
"I've been kind of stressing about this. This big sentimental issue of like I really wanted to pass this violin on to my children, like my dad passed it on to me," Buonanno said.
Sadly the violin is not insured. "It's something really important for us, we really would like to get it back," Buonanno's mom, Nobuko, said.
SFPD are working the case but they need tips from the public. Buonanno is studying music at Dartmouth College back east. She hopes to be reunited with Elizabeth by the time she returnst o school after the holiday break.
"We're also offering a reward of $1,000 with no questions asked if someone would return it to us," she said.