September 18, 2014

Police recover stolen Stradivarius

Wrapping up the case of the stolen Lipinski Stradivarius. The 300-year-old violin stolen from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster in a stun gun robbery January 27th was found when officers executed a search warrant Wednesday night. Police Chief Ed Flynn said the violin was found inside a suitcase in the attic of a Milwaukee residence.

Flynn said two men – Universal Alah and Salah Jones – have been arrested. Alah allegedly bought the stun gun and Jones did the actual robbery. A woman was also arrested. Mark Niehaus with the MSO said the violin appears in good shape.

“It looks the way it’s supposed to look. The bridge is intact, the sound post is still up, all the strings are there. We have pretty sound confidence that the violin is fine,” Niehaus said. Flynn said the theives clearly understood the value of the violin, although they do not appear to have formulated a plan for its sale.

“What the ultimate end game was, I don’t know that we’ll know,” Flynn said. “We have not developed any information that leads us to believe that there were shadowy figures in the international art theft world trying to purchase this.”

The “Strad” was to be returned to its owner, who had loaned the priceless instrument to concertmaster Frank Almond. Almond released a statement expressing his gratitude to Milwaukee police, the FBI and others involved in the instrument’s recovery.