Thieves steal music teacher's instruments, cancer medicine

TACOMA, Wash. -- Lyn Neal lives and loves music.

She's been teaching it since she was 26 and playing string instruments since she was 7-years old. Neal is now 83 and stunned by what happened Sunday to her instruments.

Someone broke into the champion fiddler's Tacoma home and stole the tools of her trade.

"Someone kicked in the back door, my kitchen door, and came through my house and stole every instrument that I had out on music stands," she said.

They took four traditional violins, two electric violins, a Taylor guitar and a mandolin, along with several bows valued at $2,000 a piece. In all, the thieves made off with roughly $10,000 worth of equipment.

Neal says the loss that hurts most is the antique violin she valued most, which was a gift passed down from her violinist father that she planned to pass down to her son.

"That hurts very, very much," she said. "It's because of my father that I'm able to play, went to school, and majored in music. He was my greatest champion."

She hopes thieves recognize it's value.

"It's not money value, it's a sound. It's old and vibrated and sounds wonderful," she said.

Neal is now borrowing her neighboring student's violin and guitar so she can keep teaching lessons. And the thieves took more than Neal's treasured violins.

She is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and she says they stole her medicine, too. Neal says she tries to forgive people but feels "utter disappointment that anybody would do this. Times must be pretty hard for somebody."