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Burglars steal a piece of violin teacher's soul

Ruth Klukoff has taught hundreds of children how to play the violin over the past decade.

She teaches the string instrument to kids at Perkins Elementary and Gulfwinds Montessori Academy and in a studio at her home.

But Klukoff is using a borrowed violin to continue her lessons - and performances - after her beloved instrument was stolen last week from the Lakewood Estates home she shares with her husband and daughter.

"It was not there, the whole case, everything, and I just felt numb, just utter disbelief that they would take it," Klukoff said. "Going to bed that night I very much had that feeling that a child of mine had been abducted."

Klukoff's husband, Barry Hamilton, discovered that their home had been burglarized the day before Thanksgiving. The family was spending the holiday week at the Myakka River, and Hamilton returned to the house to pick up a few things on Wednesday. A hodgepodge of items was taken, including new sneakers, an alarm clock and an old tennis racquet.

"They picked up anything that had a shoulder strap," Hamilton said.

When she heard about the burglary, Klukoff said the violin was the first thing that came to mind. "That's the one thing that would kill me - if my violin was gone," Klukoff recalled telling her family.

The violin, a high school graduation present from her parents, holds high sentimental value, she said. She hasn't given up hope that the instrument will find its way back to her.

"It's not just a material possession to me," Klukoff said. "It's what I make a living using, but it's also that I have an attachment to that instrument the way I would have a relationship with a person."

If you have information

Anyone with information on the missing violin can call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 893-7780.

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