NEW YORK – A missing rare violin was turned in to cops last night after it was found in an alleyway next to the bar it disappeared from.
Cops told Odin Rathnam (search), the violin's owner, that a cleaner at an Avis car-rental facility discovered the $100,000 violin and turned it in.
A relieved Rathnam, the concertmaster for the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra (search), was racing to New York from Pennsylvania last night to retrieve his precious violin.
"I'm like the luckiest man alive," Rathnam told The Post. "This is like a reunion.
"When you finally learn [to play the violin] and find an instrument you're compatible with, it's a relationship. You feel like you lost a loved when you lose it."
Rathnam was returning to his father's Upper West Side apartment early Monday after a rehearsal when he stopped at Yogi's Bar for a nightcap. After one drink, he left to escape the noise, but accidentally left behind the violin and a borrowed viola, which was also recovered last night.
Police did not know how the instruments wound up in the alley.
Rathnam recently played the violin at a concert in Bogota, Colombia - a dangerous city.
"It's ironic to me that I can visit Bogota without incident, but then lose my violin on the Upper West Side of Manhattan," Rathnam said.
A patron at Yogi's said the violin was discovered in the bar and was awarded to him after an impromptu bar-room fiddling contest - after which, he claimed, he pawned the instrument for $600.
Noah Garden said he and other patrons stood atop the bar and tried to play the violin.
"I didn't realize someone left it there," Garden told a reporter. "I thought the guy had left it here as collateral for a tab."
Nobody actually knew how to make music with Rathnam's Bartolomeo Calvarola (search), which was built between 1750 and 1755 by Calvarola in Bergamo, Italy.
But Garden had the best dance moves - so, he said, bar bosses awarded him the lost violin as a prize.
But he couldn't remember where the pawnshop was - and the fiddle was discovered only feet from where Rathnam had left it.
"It hurts my feelings to think people who don't know how to play the violin would take it out and play with it like a toy but that's the least of my worries right now," Rathnam said.
Rathnam was grateful to the cops who were instrumental in the violin's return.
"In the 20th Precinct, there was a whole crew of officers who worked night and day on this and I think it's very important to acknowledge their work," Rathnam said.
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych