A violin worth thousands of dollars and with priceless sentimental value was stolen from a music instructor’s car in south Minneapolis early this month, and police are looking to the public in hopes of recovering the 19th-century instrument.

Sarah Richardson believes her violin was stolen while she made two stops between 3 and 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 5, one at a store in the 2700 block of Lyndale Avenue S. and the other near where she teaches music and drama, Lake Country School, at 38th Street and Pleasant Avenue S.

Richardson discovered the instrument was missing when she returned to her Wayzata home.

“I left the car unlocked for about 10 minutes,” Richardson said Tuesday afternoon.

She said she had the instrument appraised about 30 years ago at about $3,000 and believes its current value is closer to $5,000.

Richardson said she has owned the violin since she was 9 years old and growing up in Northfield, where her father bought it from her violin teacher. “It’s a part of me,” she said.

Along with using it for instructional purposes and playing with friends, Richardson said she also played it during stage performances at Theatre de la Jeune Lune.

On the day it was stolen, she was on her way back from instructing adults at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, when she made her ill-fated stops.

The violin is full size, with a distinctive ¾-size chin rest, and is a rusty red-orange color. The violin has some repaired cracks on the sides and instead of having a black tailpiece, as is most common, its tailpiece is the same color as the rest of the instrument.

The interior of the French-made violin has the name of the maker, “Bretton,” inscribed in it.

Its case has a black bottom, well-worn wood top and a green interior. The exterior once had a leather strap, and the remains of it are on each side of the case’s handle.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact officer Michael Hentges at 612-673-5590 or michael.hentges@minneapolismn.gov.