US & Canada

Stolen Stradivarius violin found safe in Milwaukee attic

A Stradivarius violin stolen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and valued at $5m (£3m) has been found in a suitcase in an attic in the city, authorities say.

The 300-year-old instrument had been taken from a symphony concertmaster to whom it had been lent.

Two men aged 41 and 36 and a 32-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with the theft.

Police followed tips and information on a stun gun used in the robbery to trace the violin.

Milwaukee police chief Edward Flynn said the instrument appeared to be in good condition.

Car park robbery

One suspect, 36-year-old barber Universal Knowledge Allah, is believed to have purchased the stun gun.

Authorities received an independent tip on another suspect, Salah Jones, 41, who had been convicted of stealing a $25,000 statue from a Milwaukee gallery in 1995.

At least one of the suspects was expected to be charged on Friday, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm said.

The violin, said to be in good condition, is set to be returned to its anonymous owner on Thursday.

Police say a robber used a stun gun on Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond in a church car park after a performance on 27 January, then fled with the violin.

Universal Knowledge Allah (left) and Salah Jones (right)
Suspects Universal Knowledge Allah (left) and Salah Jones have been arrested in connection with the rare violin theft

Mr Almond was knocked to the ground but was not seriously hurt. The case in which he kept the instrument was later found.

Mr Almond thanked law enforcement for their "outstanding work" in a statement.

"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," he said.

The instrument, known as the Lipinski Strad, was built in 1715 by Antonio Stradivari, widely considered the greatest violin maker in history.

The Lipinski Strad was formerly owned by Polish violinist Karol Lipinski and 18th Century virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini.

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