Good Samaritan returns stolen viola to owner

HOUSTON - A musician's prized possession that was stolen will be returned to her just in time for Christmas, thanks to a Good Samaritan.

Lloyd Ernstes owns World Music, a shop in Missouri City. Last week he was out shopping.

"Maybe once every month I go to pawn shops to see what's in there -- things you can rebuild or resell," he said.

Ernstes came across a beautiful viola and he knew it was special.

"The case, number one -- it's made in France," he said. "It had a shoulder rest that was made in Germany."

And it's a custom color. He bought it for $107. But something didn't sit well with Ernstes.

"In my opinion it was extraordinary instrument," Ernstes said.

So he started researching and found the owner. Eva Sheie said she's been devastated since October when the viola was stolen. We spoke to her on the phone from Seattle.

"It's like loosing your voice if you're a singer and couldn't sing. That's the closest analogy I can give you," she said.

The viola was stolen after someone broke into a car while she was eating back -- her prized possession that traveled the world with her.

"Funerals, weddings -- the most emotional experiences you can imagine. To lose it and to have it be my fault was devasting," Sheie said.

She has had the instrument since she was 16 years old. Her parents sacrificed a lot to buy it She studied music at Rice University. She also played for the Houston Ballet and the opera.

Eva will have her voila back on Thursday morning.

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