This instrument was stolen from Bott in 1894, quashing all hopes of a comfortable retirement for him and his wife. Bott died a year later, and a violin dealer named Flechter was accused of having stolen the instrument and served 3 months of a 12-month sentence, though the instrument had not yet been found. Several years later, in 1900, the instrument was found in the possession of a family named Springer. It turned out that the instrument had been originally stolen by an unknown party and immediately sold to a pawn shop for $4. It then passed through several hands, none of which recognized it as a work of the master. Finally in July, 1902, 8 years after Bott's death, Flechter was exonerated and the instrument was restored to Mrs. Bott.
Flechter was convicted largely because of the testimony of August Gemunder, who claimed that a violin being sold by Flechter was the ex-Bott, when in fact it was just a cheap Strad copy.
"During the trial of Mr. Fletcher, many of his business competitors, displayed an animosity, which was, to say the least, reprehensible, and there seemed, in the light of present events, as if there was an organized effort to convict him at all costs."
Observations, The Violin Times, September, 1900, London