Three arrested in Stradivarius violin theft in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE Wed Feb 5, 2014 4:22pm EST

MILWAUKEE Feb 5 (Reuters) - Three people have been arrested in connection with the theft of a concert violinist's multimillion-dollar Stradivarius, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office said on Wednesday.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said he had no additional information about the arrests or whether the nearly 300-year-old violin had been recovered.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that police had taken the three suspects into custody on Monday.

Lovern said a decision on whether they would be charged could be made as soon as Thursday.

The Stradivarius was stolen from violinist Frank Almond last week, when the culprits used a stun gun on the musician after a concert in suburban Milwaukee.

On Friday, an anonymous donor offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the violin, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra said.

The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius had been on loan indefinitely to Almond. Made in 1715, the instrument can be distinguished by unique striations on its back.

According to an appraisal document posted on the Chicago Tribune's website, the replacement value for the violin is $5 million.

The Lipinski is one of roughly 600 violins, violas and cellos still in existence that were built by the famed Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari.

A similar Stradivarius violin sold at auction for $2.3 million in December, according to the BBC. (Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by David Bailey and Gunna Dickson)

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