Story of $22K Missing Flute Has (Mostly) Happy Ending

Boston musician Donald Rabin lost it in on Chicago train, but a homeless man found it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2021 9:51 AM CST
Story of $22K Missing Flute Has (Mostly) Happy Ending
A screen shot of Donald Rabin playing his flute.   (Facebook)

As lost-and-found stories go, this one has more drama than usual. Last Friday, flutist Donald Rabin got off a train in Chicago and realized he had left behind his $22,000 gold and silver flute, reports the Chicago Tribune. The instrument had sentimental as well as practical value, as his grandmother left him the money to buy it. The 23-year-old reported it to the Chicago Transit Authority and to police, and he spent hours searching trains himself, all with no luck, per the Washington Post. "I pray a good soul has my flute," he wrote in a Facebook post about his plight. The search picked up national attention, but Rabin still had no leads by Tuesday, when he was sitting on a plane about to return to Boston. That was when a CNN reporter let him know that somebody had responded to his Facebook post. As it turns out, it was a homeless man named Lukas Mcentee.

Mcentee informed Rabin that he had pawned the flute for $500 and would accompany Rabin to the pawn shop to get it back. Rabin was a little wary about this and reached out to police instead. And while that was unfolding, the pawn shop owner caught wind of the missing-flute story on the news and independently contacted police to return it. The happy ending: Police reunited Rabin with his flute, and he gave them a mini-concert. He also donated money to a fundraising page for Mcentee and his wife, and he encouraged others to do the same. "I really do empathize with the homeless couple," he tells the Post. The not-so-happy ending belongs to pawn shop owner Gabe Coconate. "I'm out $500 for doing the right thing," he tells the Chicago Sun-Times. (Read about the weird things that get left behind in Ubers.)

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