On Sunday morning, Lisa Stine got the phone call she feared would never come. A man, a stranger to her, was on the other end. He was at Denio’s Farmer’s Market and Swap Meet in Roseville.
“I think I found your stolen harps,” he said. “Is the big one a Rydecki?”
Stine said she screamed, called a friend and jumped in the car.
Between Aug. 23 and Aug. 28, eight harps were stolen from Stine’s Nevada City home while she was out of town.
As a result, the community rallied around Stine — a well-known music teacher, school teacher, professional musician and community volunteer — to get the word out.
On Friday, The Union wrote a story on the burglary, which was picked up the same day by CBS Channel 13 in Sacramento. The stranger who called Stine from Denio’s — who wishes to remain anonymous — had seen the story on the evening news.
“This man waited near the vendor with the harps for more than an hour to make sure no one bought anything,” said Stine. “It was amazing.”
Stine, who, for the past 15 years has led harp therapy support groups for cancer survivors, said the good Samaritan was himself a cancer survivor and musician, and was especially moved by Stine’s story.
Dean Allen Martinez, 47, of Colusa, was arrested for possession of stolen property, said Roseville Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther. He remains in Placer County Jail.
Nevada County Sheriff’s detectives traveled down to Denio’s and interviewed Martinez and several witnesses, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Saunders.
“We’re following up several leads,” he said, adding that the theft remains under investigation.
Recovered were six 22-string lap harps used in Stine’s cancer therapy groups and her beloved “heart harp,” a 20-year-old large, 36-string walnut-carved Rydecki harp. What remains at large is a dark brown Dusty Strings 36-inch harp with a caramel-colored wood soundboard and heirloom jewelry.
“I’m convinced that big harp will surface somewhere — but I’m not as optimistic about the jewelry,” Stine said. “What a seedy part of life I have experienced, but I am beyond grateful to have seen so many strangers reach out to help — people who barely knew me or didn’t know me at all. That’s the bigger story here — the heart of this community.”
Stine said the owners of Denio’s created a procession of golf carts, which wound through the open market to the parking lot, carrying Stine, her friend, law enforcement officers and the seven harps.
“It was surreal — it felt like a celebratory parade,” said Stine. “That night, after I went to bed, I lay there and thought, ‘Did I just do that?’”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com or call 530-477-4203.