Multi-million dollar violin found

MILWAUKEE – A rare multi-million dollar violin stolen last week in Milwaukee has been recovered.

Police say it appears to be in good condition.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the theft; however, their motive is still unknown.

The violin, with a value estimated around $5 million, was recovered by police Wednesday night at a home in Milwaukee.

“The search warrant revealed the Stradivarius violin secreted in a suitcase stored in the attic of the residence,” Chief Ed Flynn, Milwaukee Police Department.

Universal Allah and Salah Jones (Milwaukee Police Dept.)

Universal Allah and Salah Jones (Milwaukee Police Dept.)

Two men, Universal Allah and Salah Jones, and a 32-year-old woman are currently in custody. They’re expected to be charged as soon as Friday.

Jones has been linked to a prior art theft.

“Beyond that, we don’t know what his motive was,” said Flynn.

The instrument was taken from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond in an attack outside Wisconsin Lutheran College on January 27.

Almond was walking to his car after a performance when someone jumped out of a van, shocked him with a stun gun and took the violin, which was on loan to him.

“Obviously this is a shocking crime, literally and figuratively, to the community,” said Flynn.

Police say tips from citizens and information about the stun gun led to the arrests.

The president of the orchestra says the violin appears to be fine.

“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 strong confidence that the violin is fine,” said Mark Niehaus, president of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Almond is currently in Florida for a performance, but Niehaus says he’s seen pictures of the recovered instrument, which was crafted in 1715.

The orchestra is not sure if or when Almond will perform with the instrument again.

The violinist released a statement saying, “I could not have imagined a better outcome for this particular chapter in the violin’s life and look forward to having it in my hands as soon as possible.”

Experts say the value of the violin comes from its high-quality sound and the fact that only about 600 Stradivarius instruments still exist.

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