Only in Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" has theft like this been seen but perhaps not quite this stupidity.

An Irish Fagan-style character, John Maughan, along with two teenagers, stole a $2 million Stradivarius violin from internationally acclaimed musician Min-Jin Kym while she was seated outside a sandwich shop, speaking on her cell phone.

The court, in London,  recently heard that Maughan had then tried to sell the 300-year-old, expensive violin for $162 to a random person on the street.

Maughan said he had researched the violin on the internet however the gang of theives had not realized the value of the instrument.

There were only 450 of these violins made and it has yet to been found. The insurers are now offering a large reward for its return.

Maughan (40) and his two accomplices, aged 14 and 16, have been remanded in custody for sentencing.