Pasadena Unified officials thought their troubles might be over after Los Angeles County sheriffs recovered some of the instruments stolen in a recent school burglary.
But it turns out, just two instruments have been found, Pasadena police said Tuesday. Over 50 instruments from Marshall Fundamental Secondary School remain missing.
A thief or thieves broke into the school's music room about a week ago and made off with about $15,000 worth of flutes, trombones, saxophones, guitars and bass amps — some of which belonged to students.
Altadena sheriff's station deputies spotted a man rummaging through a Mercedes-Benz station wagon March 3 on East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, but when they told him to walk toward them, he ran. The deputies gave chase and were unable to catch him, the sheriff's office said.
Police told reporters that one saxophone and one flute were recovered in the station wagon. A television and some audio equipment were also found. Other items believed stolen in crimes unrelated to the school burglary were also located in the station wagon.
Police said their investigation is continuing.
At Marshall on Tuesday, students were playing with what instruments they had. Some students, however, were sitting out the practice.
The school has raised about $20,000 in community donations to replace the stolen instruments. School officials said they can still use more help to purchase items like upgraded storage cabinets to better secure district instruments.
Even before the burglary, the school lacked instruments for all of its 350 music students. Sharing instruments is a common practice at the school, according to Jane Bradford, president of the parent group Marshall Music Boosters.
"We don't have the money or the space," Bradford said.
Bradford said the school has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. Most donations have come in through an ongoing online fundraising effort.
"It's extremely touching," she said.
Bradford estimated that the school needs about $50,000 to fully restore the music program and buy new storage.