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Stolen Stradivarius violin likely still in Milwaukee, ex-FBI expert says (UPDATE)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ^ | 1-29-14 | Ashley Luthern

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 ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: almond; fbi; lipinski; stradivarius

Read to the end of the article at the link. I don't like the sound of that last sentence.

1 posted on 01/29/2014 8:30:45 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Well, they need to quit fiddlin’ around and string up the players that stole it. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself)


2 posted on 01/29/2014 8:32:11 AM PST by rktman (Under my plan(scheme), the price of EVERYTHING will necessarily skyrocket! Period.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; Hunton Peck; Diana in Wisconsin; P from Sheb; Shady; DonkeyBonker; ...

Update on the theft of the Lipinski violin.

FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this Wisconsin interest ping list.


3 posted on 01/29/2014 8:32:40 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Strata... whovious?


4 posted on 01/29/2014 8:34:43 AM PST by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: rktman

Well, it’s not a laughing matter, but your post has me LOL!


5 posted on 01/29/2014 8:36:08 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Link doesn’t work.


6 posted on 01/29/2014 8:36:30 AM PST by detective
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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?


7 posted on 01/29/2014 8:37:45 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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? :>}


8 posted on 01/29/2014 8:38:04 AM PST by rktman (Under my plan(scheme), the price of EVERYTHING will necessarily skyrocket! Period.)
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To: detective

http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/stolen-stradivarius-violin-likely-still-in-milwaukee-ex-fbi-expert-says-b99194255z1-242588511.html

Try the above. Sorry.


9 posted on 01/29/2014 8:38:53 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: rktman

I’m sure this theft was orchestrated by more than one individual. I hope the police conduct a thorough investigation.


10 posted on 01/29/2014 8:39:56 AM PST by Right Brother
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Sean Michaels stole it to play sweet chin music.


11 posted on 01/29/2014 8:39:58 AM PST by TurboZamboni (Marx smelled bad and lived with his parents .)
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To: rktman

See #9. Sorry about the bad link.

The violin is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.


12 posted on 01/29/2014 8:40:13 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: SeaHawkFan

Everybody in town would know where that violin would be. He’d just played a public concert!


13 posted on 01/29/2014 8:41:06 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: FReepers
Insure FR's Future!
Become A Monthly Donor


Click The Pic To Donate


14 posted on 01/29/2014 8:41:22 AM PST by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: Right Brother

Maybe they and the local sheriff will work on concert with each other to come to a harmonious crescendo. Okay. I gotta stop now.


15 posted on 01/29/2014 8:42:29 AM PST by rktman (Under my plan(scheme), the price of EVERYTHING will necessarily skyrocket! Period.)
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To: lightman

:: just completed a performance at Wisconsin Lutheran College ::

ELKer?


16 posted on 01/29/2014 8:47:22 AM PST by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations: The acronym defines the science.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
The violin is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.

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.

17 posted on 01/29/2014 8:50:14 AM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


18 posted on 01/29/2014 8:54:51 AM PST by The Great RJ
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


19 posted on 01/29/2014 8:56:23 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Wouldn’t someone walking in a ghetto parking lot with something valued a $3.5 million have a guard? Does that even make sense?


20 posted on 01/29/2014 8:58:01 AM PST by Beagle8U (Unions are Affirmative Action for Slackers! .)
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To: SeaHawkFan
It's probably changed vehicles 12 times and is hidden in the false bottom of some car on the way to some private airport.

Sounds like a great Sean Connery movie.

21 posted on 01/29/2014 9:05:24 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: SeaHawkFan

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.


22 posted on 01/29/2014 9:07:24 AM PST by Lady Heron
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


23 posted on 01/29/2014 9:10:41 AM PST by Lady Heron
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To: Lady Heron
Thinking about an old Bond Movie where something was stolen from the museum...and the thief had a bolo on. Soon there were men with bolos all over the place.

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.

24 posted on 01/29/2014 9:15:03 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Kindling. Nothing starts a fire like some good Strad splinters. Hey, it’s cold out there...


25 posted on 01/29/2014 9:16:07 AM PST by Moltke (Sapere aude!)
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To: The Great RJ

How about a wealthy Chinaman?


26 posted on 01/29/2014 9:18:53 AM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


27 posted on 01/29/2014 9:20:29 AM PST by TheConservativeParty
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Milwaukee has collapsed economically so far from what it was, that it won’t even have a symphony orchestra much longer.


28 posted on 01/29/2014 9:36:15 AM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: The Great RJ

George Soros!


29 posted on 01/29/2014 9:40:39 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

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.


30 posted on 01/29/2014 9:43:45 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Stradivarius created his masterpieces in his Cremona, Italy workshop - photo of his museum below. As an aside, my Italian business partner is also based in Cremona and designs world class amplifiers & digital processors. Must be something in that Cremona water!


31 posted on 01/29/2014 9:43:49 AM PST by newfreep (Breitbart sent me...)
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To: SeaHawkFan; Beagle8U

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.


32 posted on 01/29/2014 9:44:23 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: TheConservativeParty

See #32.

And the insurance would have required it.


33 posted on 01/29/2014 9:48:38 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Secret Agent Man
...that area of town is not a bad one, this is not gangsta crime. this is high-target, high art, refined job.

Calling Neil Caffrey...

34 posted on 01/29/2014 9:50:35 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Lady Heron

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.


35 posted on 01/29/2014 9:50:59 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: Last Dakotan

it’s heavily subsidized, the orchestra ain’ t going anywhere.


36 posted on 01/29/2014 9:52:05 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: SeaHawkFan

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.


37 posted on 01/29/2014 9:55:19 AM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
If the concert was promoted in part as an opportunity to hear a Strad played, I could see how that might attract thieves.
38 posted on 01/29/2014 11:30:29 AM PST by SeaHawkFan
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To: SeaHawkFan

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.


39 posted on 01/29/2014 11:42:24 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: SeaHawkFan

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.


40 posted on 01/29/2014 11:44:56 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
ELKer?

Negative.

http://www.wlc.edu/about/index.aspx?id=1154

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.

41 posted on 01/29/2014 7:44:18 PM PST by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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