The taking of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin worth in the “high seven figures” in an armed robbery is being investigted as a “potentially international crime,” says Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond was attacked with a stun gun and robbed of the instrument Monday night in a parking lot in the rear of a school where he had given a conceert.
Investigators believe the instrument, known in musical circles as the Lipinsky Stradivarius, was the primary target of the robbery, Flynn said. An expert called the violin comparable in value to another Strad that sold for more than $3.5 million in a 2006 auction. The violin was crafted in 1715 in Cremona, Italy, and has a unique pattern on its back. Though police have not ruled out that the robbery was a random street crime, they are working with investigators with the FBI’s art crimes team based in Quantico, Va., which specializes in high-end art thefts, and have notified Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, Flynn said.