(Adds details on court appearance for the men charged in the
By Brendan O'Brien
MILWAUKEE Feb 7 Two Wisconsin men were charged
Friday with stealing a rare Stradivarius violin worth millions
of dollars from a concert violinist in late January, prosecutors
The violin, which was made in 1715 and had an appraised
value of $5 million for insurance purposes, was recovered late
Wednesday from a Milwaukee residence, where it had been stored
in a suitcase in the attic, police said.
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.
Early last week, the thieves took the violin after
incapacitating concert musician Frank Almond with a stun gun as
he left a concert in suburban Milwaukee, authorities said.
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.
The complaint said Jones had Allah buy the Taser for him
last summer because he did not have a permit for it.
A few months later, Jones told Allah that he needed the
Taser to acquire an instrument that was rare and one of a kind,
the complaint said. Before the theft, Allah retrieved the Taser
from a safe, it said.
After his arrest on Monday, Jones told authorities they
could find the violin in a black suitcase in an attic in a
residence on the city's south side, according to the complaint.
The so-called Lipinski Stradivarius had been on loan
indefinitely to Almond from a private owner. It is one of
roughly 600 violins, violas and cellos still in existence that
were built by the famed Italian artisan Antonio Stradivari.
Almond said he plans to play the violin on Monday during a
performance in suburban Milwaukee.
"We can now celebrate the wonderful resolution of this most
recent chapter in the instrument's storied life," Almond said in
a statement posted on the website of the Sharon Lynne Wilson
Center for the Arts, where he is scheduled to play.
Bond was set at $10,000 for Jones and at $500 for Allah
during appearances Friday afternoon in Milwaukee County District
(Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Scott Malone, Gunna
Dickson and Ken Wills)