Thief steals band instruments from school before concert

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO (KTVI)-- It could have been a disaster for a St. Charles County middle school.  A thief stole thousands of dollars worth of band instruments just a week before a school band concert, police said.

An alert police officer saved the day.

Barnwell Middle School got its instruments back just in time.

There was word Wednesday that the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department had released the instruments out of evidence and back to the school.

There’s a 7th & 8th grade band concert scheduled for Thursday.

Nicholas Rivoli, 32, of Wentzville, stole more than $10,000 worth of student band equipment after he apparently got into the school last Thursday, hid until school was out, then made his move, police said.

His alleged loot included a tuba, sax, flue, snare drum, keyboard, bell set, guitars, amps and more.

He somehow stashed it all in the extended cab of this truck and may have gotten away with it – but for an alert Hillsdale police officer, police said.

The officer stopped Rivoli’s pickup for a minor traffic violation about  1 o’clock Friday morning, just hours after the burglary at the school.

“Te gentleman became very belligerent, irate.  The officer then got him out of the vehicle.  At which time he got out of the vehicle, drug paraphernalia fell to the ground, at which time the officer then went ahead and placed him into custody for the drug paraphernalia,” said Hillsdale Police Chief, Herbert Simmons.  “As he was doing an inventory of the vehicle, he observed a bunch of band equipment in the back of the vehicle… the officer then found some pawn receipts in this guy’s pocket, started to talk to him.  at which time he said that his mother was a retired school teacher.  He was helping her moveand this was her equipment.”

The officer later heard about someone stealing the instruments from the school, called St. Charles County Sheriff’s investigators and everything came together.

“Come Monday morning, a St. Charles detective, I believe the school resource officer and the band teacher showed up at the tow yard with us.  It was positively identified that the items in the vehicle belonged to the schools…great work all the way around,” Simmons said.

Rivoli is charged with receiving stolen property in St.  Louis County.

Along with all of the instruments, police found narcotics in the pickup.  Drug and burglary charges are pending.


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