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Philharmonic Musician Reunited With Flutes Stolen From Dive Bar

By Jess Wisloski | June 10, 2012 5:50pm | Updated on June 11, 2012 8:35am

UPPER WEST SIDE — A New York Philharmonic flutist was reunited with two of her instruments, worth $41,000 combined, that were stolen over the weekend.

Alexandra Sopp, 28, had finished a performance Saturday night at Symphony Space and went to get a few drinks with friends at the nearby Dive Bar at West 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. It was there that her bag, which contained a piccolo and a flute worth more than $40,000, was snatched.

"Public Safety Announcement! Ladies and Gentlemen, WATCH YOUR FLUTES! Nothing is as safe as we think it is," Sopp, a Juilliard School of Music grad, wrote on her Facebook page.

Sopp, who lives in Brooklyn, had brought to the bar a bag containing a $25,000 14-karat gold plated flute, a $8,000 instrument headpiece, and a $8,000 wooden piccolo, the Daily News reported.

Police were able to quickly obtain a description of the suspect by talking to witnesses, one of whom was apparently homeless, and by looking at the building's surveillance camera footage. The witnesses pointed them to Gary Richards, 48, who lives in an SRO on West 95th Street.

He was arrested and charged with grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.

Sopp, who has performed with Philip Glass, Bjork and Sufjan Stevens, was reunited with the instruments on Sunday.

"Thanks to a miracle, thanks to the amazing NYPD, thanks to my own serendipitous team of emotional support and detectives," Sopp wrote, "I have been reunited with my flutes."