A woman who left her $13,000 flute in the back of a taxi in 2012 has finally been reunited with it after the cab driver brought it in to a music store for a valuation.
Heidi Slyker had the instrument returned to her on April 19 after a staff member at Boston’s Virtuosity Musical Instruments who remembered an appeal for the return of Heidi’s flute grew suspicious and called police.
Slyker was a member of the New England Philharmonic Orchestra when she lost her instrument, which she saved-up to buy throughout high school.
She was then forced to quit the dream job because the only replacement she could afford sounded inferior to her old flute.
The prospective seller claimed to have bought the flute from a stranger. Investigators later determined the cab driver had been at work on the night Slyker lost her flute, according to Boston Police.
Authorities were contacted on Feb. 19 by a person working at the Virtuosity Musical Instruments store who told them that a person came into the store with the flute to determine its value.
The Boston Police Department shared in a Thursday press release that they returned the Woburn-based Brannen to Heidi Slyker on April 19
A worker at Boston’s Virtuosity Musical Instruments store remembered Slyker’s 2012 appeal for the return of her flute, and called police after the valuable instrument was brought in
Police talked with the man who had the instrument on April 9, and he reportedly told them that he had purchased the flute from an unknown male.
While he returned the instrument, authorities later determined that he was a taxi cab driver who had been driving a cab the day the instrument went missing.
Slyker, who had been with the New England Philharmonic orchestra at the time, was riding in a minivan Metrocab at around 3.30am when she left the instrument behind.
She had just left work at the Howl At The Moon bar and was heading to her Beacon Hill apartment at the time, WBZ-TV reports.
Slyker said that she was ‘devastated’ to lose the pricey instrument because she had worked all through high school to save up money for the flute, working full-time.
Slyker, who had been with the New England Philharmonic orchestra at the time, was riding in a minivan Metrocab at around 3.30am when she left the instrument behind. Pictured with the instrument before it was stolen
The musician was forced to give up her seat in the orchestra because she was forced to use a replacement, taking her five years to save up enough to buy her own flute.
‘They were like “Flute 2 sounds terrible.” And I was like, I’m sorry,’ she told The New York Times. ‘I was able to finish the concert, but I never got asked back. It was terrible. I finally got into an orchestra and I just had to quit.’
She added: ‘It was pretty terrible. I felt like I lost a limb. That was like my whole life, playing that instrument.’
She had just left work at Howl At The Moon and was heading to her Beacon Hill apartment at the time
At the time she lost the flute, Slyker’s flute was worth $10,000.
‘I couldn’t believe it. I got really excited,’ Slyker said about learning her flute had been rediscovered. ‘I had never thought I’d see it again.’
Slyker has learned of how the instrument was found but just expressed relief that it wasn’t destroyed.
‘I always wondered and it always bothered me so much,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to know, did it get melted down, did somebody sell it? Nope.’
Because the flute hasn’t been properly cared for, it will need to be overhauled at a cost of about $2,000 to get to its proper condition, Slyker shared.
‘I’m really happy,’ Slyker said. ‘I thought it was just gone.’