Skip to main content

Strad fans relieved: Stolen violin found in Milwaukee attic

By Shawn Nottingham, CNN
updated 5:13 PM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Tips lead authorities to the home where the violin was recovered, police said
  • Police: Three are in custody in connection with theft but haven't been formally charged
  • The violin, made by Antonio Stradivari, dates to 1715 and is worth millions
  • Orchestra offered a reward for safe return of the instrument

(CNN) -- Tips led police to a Milwaukee home where they recovered a nearly 300-year-old violin worth millions that was stolen from an orchestra concertmaster, authorities said Thursday.

The Stradivarius violin, known as the "ex-Lipinski," was found in a suitcase in the attic of the home, police told reporters at a news conference.

The violin appears to have been recovered in good condition, but officials are waiting for an expert to examine the instrument, Mark Niehaus of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said.

The violin, appraised at $5 million, was stolen on January 27 from Frank Almond, the orchestra's concertmaster -- the top first violinist.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the theft but have not been formally charged, authorities said.

Police Chief Edward Flynn described the three as a 36-year-old man, a 41-year-man and a 32-year-old woman, all from Milwaukee.

Stefan Hersh, the man who originally authenticated the instrument for the orchestra, told CNN that law enforcement contacted him to identify the violin.

The orchestra offered a $100,000 reward for the safe return of the instrument.

"We're confident the subjects in custody are the subjects responsible for this," said G.B. Jones, acting special agent in charge with the FBI in Milwaukee.

3 arrested in Stradivarius theft in Wisconsin

Almond was walking to his car after a performance when an assailant used a stun gun on him, causing him to drop the instrument. The attacker took the violin and fled to a waiting vehicle, which a second suspect was driving, police said.

Stradivarius violin stolen from Milwaukee concertmaster

According to the symphony, Almond plays on a violin made by Antonio Stradivari from 1715.

Hersh has spoken to Almond since the recovery, saying the musician is understandably relieved. Almond has not yet been reunited with the instrument, according to Hersh.

Stradivari was born in 1644. He set up shop in Cremona, Italy, where he made violins, harps, guitars, violas and cellos. Before his death in 1737, Stradivari is thought to have made more than 1,100 instruments -- of which some 650 remain today.

He is the world's most celebrated violin maker.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT