SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (AP) – After a Saturday night concert, classical musician Richard Meyn picked up some groceries and made several quick trips to his Springfield apartment to carry them in.

Left behind in his Audi sedan was the 30-pound, 6-foot-tall bass instrument made about 150 years ago in Germany that he has been playing for half a century.

When he went back to wrestle it out of the car, it was gone, stolen in the dark in a span of just a few minutes.

“They just saw some big thing in the car and decided they’d grab it and took off,” Meyn told the Eugene Register-Guard on Sunday. “It’s a sinking feeling. You can’t believe it.”

Meyn, pronounced like “mine,” teaches music at Oregon State University and is principal bassist for the Eugene Symphony. He played Saturday night in a chamber orchestra for the Oregon Mozart Players.

He said the instrument won’t be of much use outside a classical music hall.

“It’s not even set up for playing popular music or bluegrass music — it’s specifically for symphonic music,” Meyn said. “It actually doesn’t sound that good when you’re just plucking it.”

Meyn, 65, said he began playing the instrument as a high school junior. “It’s the only bass I’ve ever had,” he said.

He said it’s never been appraised but estimated that a new one of comparable sound quality would run from $10,000 to $15,000.

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