RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien says 75-year-old Irene Field was devastated to discover her home had been robbed while she was out of town in mid-March, and every single room had been rifled.
O'Brien says thieves escaped with goods worth thousands of dollars, include the cello, a violin, jewelry, purses, china, golf clubs, clothing and a television.
Field told police the theft of the cello was especially heartbreaking because the instrument had not been played since the death of her husband several years earlier and it was a beloved keepsake.
Mounties rounded up a 43-year-old woman and three men ranging in age from 20 to 43 late last month as the items appeared in Nanaimo-area pawn shops and O'Brien says one of the first pieces returned was the missing cello.
He says even though the eldest male suspect is the only one currently facing charges, the investigation is very active and more charges are expected against additional suspects.