WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 11, 2010, 11:11 AM

Fargo school's 6-foot tall instrument ends up at pawn shop

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a baffling burglary at a Fargo school. The district's music director says someone managed to steal an orchestra bass which is by far the largest of Clara Barton Elementary's instruments. Also surprising is that the school didn't notice the 8 to 9 hundred dollar item was gone.

Denise Odegaard/Drama & Music Curriculum Specialist: “It's shocking and sad.”

Hard to believe at 6 feet tall and several feet wide, a missing orchestra bass could go unnoticed for over 90 days. But it did, after someone allegedly took it from the school.

Odegaards: “Don't just lose something that big.”

The bass showed up at Pawn America in Fargo where it was traded in for a loan. Manager Randy Capouch says the store values a bass like this at 3 to 7 hundred dollars. A worker there told me the person even came back a second time to renew the loan.

At the end of 90 days, when the Pawn shop has the right to re-sell an item, that person didn't come back and staff noticed something fishy about the instrument. A label that indicated it belonged to Fargo Schools. That's when Clara Barton Elementary was contacted.

Randy Capouch/Pawn America: “It's difficult; we feel bad and want to get it resolved.”

The district has over 1-thousand instruments it rents to families who can't afford or don't want to buy their own. Some are not needed from year to year. When it comes to the bass, most students rent. One of these costs about 800 dollars.

Police are investigating the case, and they have a good starting point. Pawn shops are required to have guests who bring in items, sign in and show a photo ID. Pawn America also has video cameras.

Sgt. Joe Anderson: “We know who pawned the item; we just don't know who stole it.”

The goal is not only to catch the people involved, but also to find out just how this large instrument got into their hands in the first place. A school administrator says the district will likely review security cameras if they can narrow down when the bass went missing. Odegaard says the last time a family rented the bass was two years ago and it was returned to the school.