Stolen 300-year-old Stradivarius violin recovered in Milwaukee

Thu Feb 6, 2014 6:07pm EST
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By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - A rare Stradivarius violin worth millions of dollars that was stolen from a concert violinist in an armed robbery last week has been recovered from a Milwaukee residence, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.

Authorities discovered the prized string instrument inside a suitcase in the attic of a home on the city's south side late Wednesday night, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said during a news conference at police headquarters.

The recovery of the violin came after the arrest on Monday of three unidentified suspects, one of whom police said has a history of stealing art in Milwaukee.

"At this point it appears we have a local criminal, who was very much interested in art theft and who was smart enough to identify this as a valuable instrument," Flynn said.

The 300-year-old instrument was being held at the city's police headquarters and will be returned to its anonymous owner on Thursday.

The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius had been on loan indefinitely to Milwaukee area concert musician Frank Almond, officials said.

Made in 1715, the instrument can be distinguished by unique striations on its back.

Early last week, thieves incapacitated Almond with a stun gun and took the violin following a concert in suburban Milwaukee, police said.   Continued...

The 300-year-old Stradivarius violin that was taken from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster in an armed robbery is on display for the media after it was recently recovered, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Darren Hauck