Regional
9:36 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Charges Filed in Case of Stolen Stradivarius Violin

Frank Almond performs with his Stradivarius violin in WUWM's studios, in 2008.
Frank Almond performs with his Stradivarius violin in WUWM's studios, in 2008.
Credit Bonnie North

UPDATE: The Milwaukee DA's office on Friday issued robbery charges against two Milwaukee men - Universal K. Allah and Salah I. Salahadyn.

The complaint accuses the two of taking a 1715 Stradivarius violin, its case and contents, from Frank Almond on Jan. 27, as he left a performance at Wisconsin Lutheran College. If convicted of the felony charges, the defendants could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and/or fined $50,000.

Police say they found the violin inside a suitcase, in the attic of a home on E. Smith St. in Milwaukee. The nearly 300-year-old instrument appears to be good condition.

The person who owns the home reportedly is an acquaintance of the suspect, and had no knowledge of what was in the suitcase. 

Police tweeted a photo of the violin on Thursday.

The MPD held a news conference at noon, to update reporters on the status of the investigation.

Police say the three people arrested on Wednesday, in connection with the Jan. 27 heist, are local. One was previously convicted in an art theft.

Five warrants led to the arrests. A sixth warrant resulted in the violin's recovery.  Police say tips played a role in the investigation and arrests. In addition, authorities worked with Taser, Intl. to establish who was in possession of the weapon used in the crime. 

Some estimates put the value of the violin at $5 million. It has has been on long-term loan from an anonymous owner, to Frank Almond, the MSO concertmaster.

Police say someone used a stun gun on Almond in order to steal the instrument. He had just finished performing at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee and was in the parking lot, when the robbery occurred.

A reward of $100,000 had been offered, for information that led to the safe return of the violin.