Police: Mom uses young daughter to steal teen's violin

UPDATE: Kalob Tatum says his stolen violin was recovered Thursday night. Details about how the violin was returned are sketchy, but Tatum said it is damaged and needs to be repaired before he can play it.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A local teenager is upset after somebody stole his rare, one-of-a-kind violin right from underneath him. And police are looking into whether the thief used her grade-school daughter to do the dirty work for her.

"When I saw the violin gone, my heart just dropped," said victim Kalob Tatum. "I had this feeling that something terrible just happened."

Tatum says he set all his stuff down inside A Mount Vernon McDonalds Wednesday, ordered a burger, then turned back around to find his most prized possession -- a 100-year-old, Czechoslovakian copy of a Stradivarius violin, had vanished.

"It feels like I lost somebody you know," Tatum said. "A family member or a friend."

Surveillance video from inside the store shows a young child pick it up while the child's mother stood there.

Tatum's been playing the violin since kindergarten. Now in high school, the 17-year-old used his violin to earn a coveted spot in a music school in New York City this summer.

"I got a scholarship to a two-week camp and... I do not have a violin and I don't have the money to get a new one right now."

Tatum says he has no idea what he's going to do.

Police are still trying to figure out for sure if the child stole the violin because mom told her to.

"It can happen -- we know it's happened before... where a parent involves a child," said Lt. Chris Cammock with Mount Vernon Police.

Tatum says he was just shocked a little girl just picked it up. He's searched Craigslist and every pawn shop around, from Stanwood to Anacortes to Oak Harbor.

He says he doesn't really care who or why somebody stole it, he just wants his violin returned.

"It's the one thing that just keeps me going that I love and could never stop," he said.