SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A $34,000 violin vanished from a high-security cargo dock near San Francisco International Airport.

Leon Igudesman, a violinist with the San Francisco Opera, said he bought the 239-year-old instrument by telephone during an auction in Cologne, Germany, last month.

He said he had it shipped on Lufthansa Airlines, but it was gone when he went to pick it up a week ago.

Made in 1754 by Michaele Deconete of Venice, the violin was delivered as straight cargo with no special handling request.

''We tore up our warehouse up and down. The piece is not here,'' said Lufthansa manager Frank Curci. ''Someone apparently has helped himself. I don't know who, I don't know when.''

If the violin was stolen, investigators said, the culprit either got very lucky in choosing such a valuable package or knew in advance of the instrument's value.

Cargo Supervisor Andy Magpaganty said the violin may have been delivered to the wrong place or picked up by a trucker.

''For now, we say it's missing, but not stolen,'' he said.