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Nanaimo RCMP return woman's cherished cello

Four suspects have been arrested in connection with a break-in to a senior’s home, where thousands of dollars of items were stolen, including a much-cherished French cello.

Irene Field, 75, returned from vacation in mid-March to find the back door to her home on Railway Avenue had been kicked in, rooms ransacked and dozens of her belongings gone, including her late husband's French cello, which had not been played since his death in 1997.

Field reported the break-in, but unbeknownst to her the RCMP had been informed of the break-in while she was away and was already investigating. Officers obtained a detailed list of the missing items which also included  a violin, jewelry, purses, china, clothing, golf clubs and a television and  dozens of more items worth thousands of dollars.

Police started rounding up the suspects when Field's items began showing up at local pawn shops, ultimately arresting three men, ages 43, 37 and 20, and a 43-year-old woman, all from Nanaimo.

All are facing charges of possession of stolen property.

The 43-year-old male is the first of the suspects to have a court date set and will appear in Nanaimo provincial court June 17 to face one count of break and enter and possession of stolen property.

One of the first pieces recovered and returned to Field was her prized cello.

"Incredibly, many of these keepsakes were simply taken to local drug houses in exchange for drugs. Others were pawned for cash, and sadly other items may never be located. The file is still very active and more charges are expected," said Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

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