When Sonya and David Villa discovered that somebody had punched out a window of their van, they were naturally upset.
That was one more phone call to make to the insurance company, and one more afternoon of waiting for the mobile glass company to make the trip out to replace the exact same window that had been broken out only months before.
But it wasn’t the shattered glass that cut them to the core. Tucked in the back of that van were four of David Villa’s saxophones valued at almost $10,000. And they were gone.
Villa, a music teacher in Tracy, used the instruments for both in-class instruction and in the band that he performed in with other local music teachers. A pair of bags that contained sheet music and music books were also inside the van and got swiped as well.
This, however, wasn’t your average theft.
An East Union High School music student told his instructor – a friend of Villa’s – that one of his family members had offered him some musical instruments and that he was afraid that they might have been stolen. That student’s mother worked out an exchange where if the instruments were brought to the school and left, no questions would be asked.
It sounded good to everybody but the people who had been ripped off. One of the saxophones was damaged, and the music books never surfaced. And when the mother of the student, according to Sonya Villa, was questioned, she refused to give up the name of the family member that may have had something to do with the theft.
Sonya Villa said she realizes that she’s luckier than most in situations like these – even hard-to-sell items like specialized musical instruments are seldom returned to their rightful owner.
But where, she asks, is the sense of justice in knowing that the person who knows the person responsible refuses to give up the information, and why are the police not pressing the issue any further – especially given the dollar value attached to the items that were taken.
“I realize that woman doesn’t have to say anything. But what kind of a message does that send to her son,” Villa asked. “If she knows the person who stole it, then why doesn’t she just come forward to the police and let them know who it is. Why is she sitting back and protecting them?
“Because we don’t know who it was that took the items we’re not able to get any compensatory damages in this – repairing that instrument isn’t cheap. And it just doesn’t make any sense why she won’t say anything and how the people are just going to let something like that go.”
And then there’s the whole security aspect.
Villa said that she’s had trouble sleeping knowing that the person that ripped her family off is running around on the streets right now.
What’s to stop them, she asked, from breaking into the house the next time to try and take something of even more value? What would happen if she were home when something like that took place?
“It’s unnerving and it’s frustrating,” she said. “My husband works as a music teacher and I work part-time as a nanny, so we aren’t exactly well-off. We’re struggling like everybody else. So having to make these repairs – and that doesn’t even cover the cost of our homeowners insurance deductible or paying to get the window fixed – is a big burden for us.
“I just wish we knew who did it.”