London: A gang of thieves, who stole a rare 1.2 million pounds Stradivarius violin from an internationally acclaimed musician, tried to sell it to a random stranger for just 100 pounds, a court has heard.
Irish traveller John Maughan had stolen the 300-year-old instrument from acclaimed violinist Min-Jin Kym while she was in a sandwich shop.
In a Fagin-style operation, he got two teenage accomplices to distract staff while he vanished with the instrument as 32-year-old Kym was on her mobile phone.
Despite researching the violin on the web, the gang were so ignorant of its value that they tried to sell it to the man on the next computer for 100 pounds, reports the Daily Express.
The violin, one of only 450 made, has not been found. Insurers are offering a 15,000-pounds reward.
Maughan, 40, and two boys of 14 and 16 have admitted theft at Blackfriars Crown Court in south London.
They have been remanded in custody for sentence.