Teen beaten, robbed of rare instruments
Police have recovered the stolen property of a visiting teen who was robbed and roughed up in an attack late last week.
Aidan Feldman, 16, of Williamsburg, Va., was mugged by a group of teens around 8:15 p.m. near McDonald’s on Thursday evening.
Aidan was visiting Oberlin with his father, David Feldman, who is the economics department chair at the College of William and Mary.
“I was in Oberlin on Thursday to speak to a meeting of the Oberlin College trustees. I brought my 16-year-old son along with me to visit the college and Conservatory,” said David Feldman. “The admissions office went way beyond the call of duty to arrange a remarkable day for him.”
David Feldman said his son met with professors from a number of departments and spent time with Baroque flute professor Kathie Stewart at the Conservatory.
“She had asked him to bring his instruments so they could ‘jam’ together,” David Feldman said.
After dinner with several Oberlin students, Aidan decided to wander around town for a while as his father talked with the trustees.
“According to a written statement provided by the juvenile victim, he was walking northbound on South Main Street, near Lincoln Street at approximately 8:15 p.m. The juvenile victim advised he walked past a group of 5-6 males approximately 15-19 years old who were walking southbound,” said Lt. Michael McCloskey, of the Oberlin Police Department. “After the he walked past them, he was hit in the side of the head and fell to the ground. The victim further stated he got back up and was thrown to the ground which caused his eyeglasses to fall off.”
During the assault, a red backpack which Aidan was carrying was stolen. The backpack contained miscellaneous clothing, a first generation iPod, a 1948 silver Haynes Flute in a leather case, and a handmade Irish whistle.
Aidan was able to give officers accurate descriptions of the attackers, according to McCloskey.
“One male was black and wore a green polo shirt and jeans. The victim also stated two of the males appeared to be Hispanic with sleeveless shirts, and 2-3 were white,” McCloskey said. “One wore a baggy T-shirt with shorts and was heavyset. The victim stated all the individuals had short hair, and one of the white males was tall and skinny with blond hair.”
According to David Feldman, the flute had belonged to his son’s first teacher, a man named Burt Kester, who taught at the College of William and Mary, who spent his summers in Ohio playing with the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra. When Kester died in 2010, his family offered the flute to Aidan.
“Aidan was his very last student, and Burt had worked with Aidan since he was eight,” said David Feldman. “I still remember Burt saying, ‘He’s eight. He’s a boy who wants to study the flute…he’s mine.’”
David Feldman had the flute fully restored to its 1940s glory, and it became Aidan’s performance instrument, and according to his father, his friend.
“Now it’s gone,” David Feldman said.
The serial number of the flute is 19310.
On Tuesday, Feldman was contacted by Oberlin PD and informed the backpack had been recovered, along with some of Aidan’s clothing and the Irish whistle in the woods near where the assault occured. Later that evening, police contacted David Feldman, saying they had also recovered the stolen flute.
According to David Feldman, the Oberlin PD said they had been able to identify one of the attackers through Aidan’s description. The alleged perpatrator was brought in and eventually told police where the flute had been hidden.
The city prosecutor’s office is currently holding the flute as evidence in the case, and it’s unclear when Aidan will be able to recover his property. Feldman said his son’s lip is still split from the attack, so he’s not in a mood to practice anyway.
“The police did a lot of legwork to get this case solved so quickly,” David Feldman said. “They deserve a lot of praise for their professionalism.”