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 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 12:30 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park, said to be a pet project of secretive young leader Kim Jong Un.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex in France, agents caught up with Ibrahim Boudina, a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back Syrian-schooled terror to Europe.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT