Chief: Tips from public, tracking of stun gun led to suspects in violin theft
Suspect has previous art theft conviction, police say
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said tips from the public and the ability to track a stun gun helped police identify suspects in the theft of a multimillion-dollar Stradivarius violin.
Three people have been arrested in connection with the theft including two men, Universal Allah and Salah Jones.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett praised investigators at a news conference Thursday for their work in recovering the violin. The instrument was taken from concertmaster Frank Almond in a brazen attack outside Wisconsin Lutheran College on Jan. 27.
Almond was walking to his car after a performance at the college when someone jumped out of a van, shocked him with a stun gun and seized the Stradivarius, which was on loan to him. The robber got back into the waiting vehicle, which sped off.
Flynn said Thursday that officers worked with the maker of the stun gun to identify one suspect.
He said a tip led officers to another suspect, who has a previous art theft conviction.
Flynn said one suspect led officers to the home where the violin was found in a suitcase in the attic. He said the homeowner was an acquaintance of the suspect and doesn’t seem to have known what was in the suitcase.
Barrett also said he was surprised to learn he had received a haircut from one of the suspects. The mayor said Thursday that after the suspect was arrested, his staff discovered a picture of him in the barber’s chair on the suspect’s Facebook page. It wasn’t immediately clear which suspect had given Barrett the trim.
The violin was crafted in 1715 and has been appraised for insurance purposes at $5 million.