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$5 million stolen Stradivarius violin recovered, two men charged

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A 300-year-old Stradivarius violin recently appraised at $5 million for insurance purposes, stolen in an armed robbery last week, was recovered from a Milwaukee, Wis. residence on Wednesday. On Feb. 7, two suspects in the theft of that rare violin were charged in Milwaukee County District Court.

According to Reuters:

Salah Jones, 41, and Universal Knowledge Allah, 36, were charged with felony robbery and Allah was also charged with marijuana possession. A 32-year-old woman arrested in connection with the crime, has not been charged.

Police found the violin, created in 1715 by famed Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari, in the attic of the thieves’ Wis. home. The violin was being stored in a suitcase.

The Stradivarius was stolen from concert violinist, Frank Almond, also a lecturer at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, on Jan 27.

Jones and Allah stole the violin after incapacitating Almond with a stun gun. Almond was leaving a concert in suburban Milwaukee at the time of the assault and robbery.

Jones told a witness that stealing a Stradivarius violin "was his dream theft" because of its potential value and it could be "snatched from the hands of a musician as they walk down the street," the criminal complaint said.

Court papers stated that Allah had to buy the Taser for Jones, because Jones “did not have a permit for it.”

The violin was found to be in good shape, according to Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn.

The FBI also worked in cooperation with Milwaukee police to recover the Stradivarius.

The violin has been on an indefinite loan to Almond from a private owner. There are only about 600 of Antonio Stradivari’s violins, violas and cellos still in existence today.

For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.

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