'Stolen' horns turn up under the bed

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comAugust 20, 2012 

Nearly two weeks ago, a heartbroken Paul Scarlett contacted the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office to report a theft from his Lobeco home.

Gone from their stands in his garage was a cornet and his prized 1960 Holton Symphony trumpet, instruments worth about $2,000 each.

The horns apparently had been swiped from his garage in broad daylight sometime between July 28 and Aug. 9, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

Authorities found no signs of forced entry and had no leads on the missing items or suspects.

The crime devastated Scarlett, 65, who plays in the band at Community Bible Church near Port Royal.

Scarlett began to think about what his life would be like without the instruments, particularly the trumpet, which he bought at age 13 for $350 using money saved from a job washing dishes for 35 cents an hour.

"Whoever stole it has no idea what they stole and what it means to me," a dejected Scarlett said Thursday afternoon. "I played that trumpet nearly every day for 52 years. I don't have much hope that I'm going to get it back, but I would give just about anything to see it again."

Scarlett got his wish Friday when he looked under a bed in his own home.

He had hidden the instruments there about a month ago before going out of town, concerned that they might be stolen.

"I found them by complete accident," Scarlett said with a relieved chuckle. "I was looking for something else and totally forgot that I had put them there. It's great, but I'm feeling a bit foolish."

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