Three arrested in Wisconsin Stradivarius theft, violin still missing

Wed Feb 5, 2014 6:55pm EST
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By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Three people have been arrested in connection with the theft of a Stradivarius from a concert violinist in Wisconsin, but the multi-million dollar instrument remains missing, police said on Wednesday.

Investigators believe the suspects, two men and a woman, were acting on their own and that the 300-year-old violin is still in Milwaukee, Police Chief Edward Flynn told a news conference.

"This is not something that can easily be disposed of at some future date," Flynn said. "It's not valuable for a thief. It's only valuable to a collector."

The men, aged 36 and 41, and woman, 32, were taken into custody on Monday, Flynn said.

Chief Deputy Milwaukee County District Attorney Kent Lovern said a decision on whether they would be charged could be made as soon as Thursday.

The Stradivarius was stolen from violinist Frank Almond last week, when the culprits used a stun gun on the musician after a concert in suburban Milwaukee.

On Friday, an anonymous donor offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the violin, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said.

The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius had been on loan indefinitely to Almond. Made in 1715, the instrument can be distinguished by unique striations on its back.   Continued...