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Man steals valuable mandolin from La Crosse home

La Crosse business owner steals valuable mandolin from home of elderly blind woman

LA CROSSE, Wis. - A La Crosse business owner has confessed to police that he stole a rare mandolin appraised at more than $200,000 from the home of an elderly blind woman while he was there to search for bats.

The La Crosse Tribune reports Thursday that Michael Bakke turned himself in to police on Monday. He was the only suspect after the woman discovered the instrument missing.

Bakke is owner of Wisconsin Bat Specialist Inc. He took the instrument in early June. It was built by the head engineer of Gibson in 1923 and was valued at $225,000 in 2009, though an expert says it's probably worth $150,000 in the current market.

Bakke told investigators he felt sorry for the woman and took the mandolin to an auction house to have it listed.

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