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Three suspects arrested; stolen violin still not found

Mcclatchy-Tribune

MILWAUKEE – Three people have been arrested in connection with the robbery of a priceless Stradivarius violin, but the instrument has not been found, police said Wednesday.

The three suspects – two men, ages 42 and 36, and a woman, 32 – were arrested Monday morning at their respective Milwaukee residences and remained in police custody Wednesday. One of the suspects has been linked to a prior art theft.

The violin, crafted in 1715 and known as the Lipinski Strad after a former owner, was stolen from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond during an armed robbery Jan. 27. Almond had played the instrument during a performance earlier at Wisconsin Lutheran College. The violin’s case was found later that night on Milwaukee’s north side. The getaway van, an older-model maroon minivan, has not been located.

“We emphasize at this time that although we made arrests we have not yet recovered the violin,” Milwaukee police Chief Edward Flynn said at a news conference Wednesday.

Flynn said he did not want to speculate, but when asked, he said there’s “a good chance” the violin is still in Milwaukee. Investigators received information that pointed to the suspects and physical evidence that specifically linked one of them to the crime, he said.

“At this point we don’t have any indication they were working for anyone but themselves,” Flynn said.

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