Organist Thijs Haenen’s Christmas has not started well. The money he raised on Christmas Eve in Eindhoven with his organ playing was brutally stolen that same evening.
It happened while entering Donizettilaan from Karel de Grotelaan at around 06:30 in the evening, Omroep Brabant reports. Haenen was walking there playing the organ when a cyclist in an orange work coat with reflection stripes overtook him. He yanked off the collection box attached to the organ and took off, leaving Haenen bewildered.
Still, he flew into action when he saw the cyclist cycling in the opposite direction on the same bike path moments later. Haenen chased him on foot along Von Flotowlaan until he reached Schubertlaan, where Haenen had his car parked. He jumped into the car and continued the pursuit, but he had to abandon it moments later: “Unfortunately, my car window was fogged up and I lost sight of him on Schubertlaan”.
He doesn’t care too much about the money in the collection box. “At most, a ten or twenty euros went in there”, Haenen says. “The collection box is worth much more to me”.
The collection box has a lot of emotional value. Haenen got it when he started as an organ man in Eindhoven in 2014. His organ has stood for years in downtown Eindhoven, where many people know him. “The box was attached to the organ so people didn’t have to get close during corona time, or for children who find it exciting anyway”, Haenen says.
“This is a red copper canister about 10 centimeters in diameter and about 15 centimeters high. The opening is somewhat messily soldered and the handle broke off during the theft and is now missing. Maybe it was dumped somewhere nearby and someone will find it”, Haenen hopes.
The organ man is looking for tips or people who may have camera footage of the theft or the chase that followed. That way, he hopes to recover the collection box, so that his Christmas may end better than it started.
Translated by: Bob