Man charged with violin theft speaks

Salah Salahadyn  (Milwaukee Police Dept.)
Salah Salahadyn (Milwaukee Police Dept.)

MILWAUKEE - One of the suspects accused of stealing a multi-million dollar violin in Milwaukee says an Asian gang put him up to it.

Police say Salah Salahadyn used a stun gun to steal the Stradivarius from Milwaukee concertmaster Frank Almond last month. Salahadyn says he thought his family would be in danger unless he cooperated.

"The intention was to secure my family's safety and security and that was best did by holding onto the piece and waiting to have some contact with law enforcement by which I could explain my situation," said Salahadyn.

He then claims he had second thoughts.

"The idea that it was going half way around the world, where it would never have been seen again, did not sit well with me."

Salahadyn said he wouldn't be more specific, because his case is still making its way through the courts.

He does claim he played violin as a child. Salahadyn also says he took good care of the Stradivarius, even wrapping it in his baby's blanket.

"The piece would be playing somewhere around the world, where people are not concerned about how it was obtained, they just would have had it."

Salahadyn also admitted to attacking Almond, and apologized for his actions.

"The piece is in the hands of the person who should be playing it, has been playing it. He's the real victim here.  He's as much a piece of art, as the art itself."

If convicted, Salahadyn could face 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.