Skip to comments.Stolen Stradivarius violin likely still in Milwaukee, ex-FBI expert says (UPDATE)
Posted on 01/29/2014 8:30:45 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
A priceless 300-year-old Stradivarius violin that was stolen in a robbery Monday night likely is sitting in a Milwaukee home, a retired FBI expert on such cases said Wednesday.
"I doubt it'd be shipped out that quickly to some far-off place," said Robert K. Wittman, founder of the FBI's National Art Crime Team and author of "Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures."
The Stradivarius violin was on loan to Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond, who was attacked Monday night with a stun gun and robbed of the instrument. He had just completed a performance at Wisconsin Lutheran College and was in the parking lot in the rear of the school, at 8815 W. Wisconsin Ave.
The robber fled to a nearby vehicle, described as a maroon or burgundy minivan driven by an accomplice
Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn described the robbery as an assault on "the artistic heritage of Milwaukee." Milwaukee police are investigating with the FBI's art crimes team based in Quantico, Va. Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, also was notified.
Wittman said that, although the violin theft is unusual, he expects the motive is similar to that of high-end art thefts.
"Throughout my career, what I always saw in the end is that it was always about making money," Wittman said.
(Excerpt) Read more at jsonline.com ...
Read to the end of the article at the link. I don't like the sound of that last sentence.
Well, they need to quit fiddlin’ around and string up the players that stole it. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)
Update on the theft of the Lipinski violin.
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.
Well, it’s not a laughing matter, but your post has me LOL!
Link doesn’t work.
I’d be looking closely at Frank Almond. Just how would any thief know where the violin would be at that time without inside knowledge?
I tried to go to the link but that didn’t work. I was just wondering what price they put on the priceless violin. And what’s all this talk about gun violins anyway? :>}
Try the above. Sorry.
I’m sure this theft was orchestrated by more than one individual. I hope the police conduct a thorough investigation.
Sean Michaels stole it to play sweet chin music.
See #9. Sorry about the bad link.
The violin is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.
Everybody in town would know where that violin would be. He’d just played a public concert!
Maybe they and the local sheriff will work on concert with each other to come to a harmonious crescendo. Okay. I gotta stop now.
:: just completed a performance at Wisconsin Lutheran College ::
I'd say more "irreplaceable" than "priceless".
I recall seeing something about the wood that Stradivarius used. It grew during one of the colder spells of the last "little ice age" (LIA), among other traits.
While worth potentially millions, selling a stolen Strad would I think be rather hard. There are only a few dozen known Strads in the world so any open sale would be impossible. That would leave selling it to a private collector who didn’t care about the source. I would guess this theft was well planned with a buyer already identified.
You have a $3.5 million intrument and you park “behind the school”?
That, all by itself, is suspicious. And just who described the getaway vehicle? If it was Frank Almond, that might make one suspicious.
Still think it might be an inside job; and I bet the FBI and cops are looking into that possibility.
Wouldn’t someone walking in a ghetto parking lot with something valued a $3.5 million have a guard? Does that even make sense?
Sounds like a great Sean Connery movie.
Anybody with an understanding of the string world would know how to wait outside after a concert to take the violin. Anybody with any knowledge of the hall itself would know where they musicians come out after concerts.
It is a stupid thing to steal. Violins require repairing and up keep and Strads are all well known and documented.
Only place this goes is to a private collector and even then what a waste because violins require playing.
Concert folks all dress the same. You're looking for an unknown face in fancy dress. I'm almost betting a man and woman with a very full dress.
Now how hard would it be to put a GPS finder in the case. Who knows...it may have one.
FBI says till in Milwalkee...likely red herring.
Kindling. Nothing starts a fire like some good Strad splinters. Hey, it’s cold out there...
How about a wealthy Chinaman?
Any word on why the person in possession of such a valuable thing, would be totally unprepared for a robbery of that item?
Another case of how an armed and prepared citizen could have prevented himself from being robbed.
Or if he’s not that kind of person (probably is a liberal) how about having some hired protection?
Or how about keeping it at the school in a vault?
Certainly there were a dozen better options than waltzing around totally vulnerable to theft.
Milwaukee has collapsed economically so far from what it was, that it won’t even have a symphony orchestra much longer.
crooks obviously knewhe had it on loan and would be playing it that night.
that area of town is not a bad one, this is not gangsta crime. this is high-target, high art, refined job.
I am not ready to be suspicious of Frank Almond. He’s a really nice guy, from all reports. BUT, I do question his walking around without a body/violin guard. I know it would be expensive to hire such a person, but I’d think that the symphany would have provided it.
And the insurance would have required it.
Calling Neil Caffrey...
a real interesting twist would be if Frank Almond hired some guys to ‘rob’ him to steal it so that he could have it for his personal use. they used a stun gun, yes to not accidentally shoot the violin, but at the same time non-lethal to him too.
it’s heavily subsidized, the orchestra ain’ t going anywhere.
most of these people play very expensive instruments to begin with. not strads but very, very expensive,older, superior ones. it’s not abnormal. in and of itself.
plus looking at it most wouldn’t know it’s a strad. they’d have to know he had one and he’d be playing it that night.
but the same twist crossed my mind too. that he ‘theft’ might be for him.
Everybody in town who knows anything about music knows about the Strad. It was a big deal here when it was ‘found’ in a bank vault in 2008 and loaned to the MSO for Almond’s use. Almond plays it at every concert.
Prior to its discovery, the Lipinski Strad had been ‘lost’ for about 30 years. It last belonged to a lady violinist who like to vacation in Milwaukee and it had resided in a bank vault since her death. It turned out that it was the wish, either of her or her husband, that it be made available to the MSO.
I certainly hope that they get it back and that they hire an armed guard to follow it around when they do.
BTW, if Almond leaves the MSO, the Strad would stay here and would be offered to the next Concert Master. That is, if they find it.
College Identity Information
Mission of Wisconsin Lutheran College
Wisconsin Lutheran College, affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, is a Lutheran liberal arts college for Christian men and women. The college is committed to providing quality teaching, scholarship, and service that are rooted in Holy Scripture; promoting the spiritual growth of students, faculty, and staff; and preparing students for lives of Christian leadership.
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod or "WELS" is the most conservative of all North American Lutheran church bodies. They make Missouri look like flaming liberals.