'Lipinski' Strad Stolen from Frank Almond in Milwaukee

January 28, 2014, 6:20 PM · According to news reports, Frank Almond was tased by two robbers as he emerged from a gig at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee Monday. When he dropped the 1715 Lipinski Stradivarius he was carrying in a case, the robbers, a man and a woman, stole it and fled in a maroon minivan. The case was discarded elsewhere in town.

There are many, many pictures of this violin on this page. Also, here is one:

Lipinski Strad

The violin, valued at more than $3.5 million, was on loan to Almond, who is concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Milwaukee police say anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Stradivarius violin should call +1-414-935-7360 or the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra at +1-414-226-7838.

This is the same Strad that was the subject of his project, funded by a Kickstarter campaign and released in 2013, called A Violin's Life.. (I interviewed him about it, and he described the violin and its history extensively.)

Frank Almond

Any violin maker who could verify the worth of this violin would also very easily be able to identify that it is stolen. This is a very high-profile instrument, and such instruments are meticulously documented. Sometimes in cases like these, robbers, realizing the difficulty in fencing such a high-profile, easily identified instrument, simply return it safely to a neutral place. We can only hope for this kind of outcome.


January 29, 2014 at 01:32 AM · Frank Almond is not only a great concertmaster of the MSO, but also the driving force behind Frankly Music, a world class chamber music series in Milwaukee. I wish him the best in this horrendous time. He is a gem in the Milwaukee music scene.

January 29, 2014 at 02:35 AM · And how is Frank?

January 29, 2014 at 03:33 AM · It will reappear when the ransom is offered

January 29, 2014 at 10:49 AM · Shocking, absolutely shocking.

January 29, 2014 at 06:57 PM · According to this article, Frank is shaken but unhurt.

January 29, 2014 at 11:17 PM · Reminds me of being at the Kennedy Center in DC a couple of years ago and seeing that evening's soloist with the Nation Symphony--a prominent violinist who plays a Del Gesù--walking in the front door with violin case in hand. Alone. I think I would have someone with me if I was carrying around a $4M object in a box.

January 29, 2014 at 11:58 PM · We were at this concert and purchased the CD, A VIOLIN'S LIFE", Frank's beautiful tribute to the composers/violinists who make up the Lipinski's history. The theft of this magnificent instrument and the loss of the joyous pairing of the two - Frank and his Strad, breaks our hearts. I cannot imagine his heartbreak over the loss. The mindlessly brutal act is shocking. One can pray that the violin is in knowing hands and that it will be recovered and returned to the virtuoso who played it so skillfully and lovingly. We have been so blessed with this pairing. Judith Ruland

January 30, 2014 at 06:33 PM · I understand that the violin case was recovered due to a beeping device placed inside the case.

Thought: why can't there be a GPS tracking microchip placed inside these rare instruments? The chip surely would not impair the sound, and would facilitate the recovery. In fact, potential thieves, knowing this, might be deterred from even thinking about stealing these instruments.

Hey, we have land rovers on Mars...

Gregory Lawrence

Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra

San Diego, CA

January 30, 2014 at 11:46 PM · Hope the violin is found undamaged and the criminals are punished.

January 30, 2014 at 11:54 PM · Unfortunately GPS devices have to be powered; this increases their bulk. In addition, they are easily jammed and/or blocked, for example by aluminum foil. Valuable instruments cannot be safely guarded by GPS alone; additional protection (human) is required.

January 31, 2014 at 01:19 PM · To my mind, the non lethal methods used in this robbery seem to suggest it was perpetrated by contracted professionals, probably some "fixer" or private detective. The violin is probably in the possession of some Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist or a Russian Energy baron.

February 1, 2014 at 09:39 PM · Are you a detective with access to all the juicy details that they aren't offering to the public? Because so far all one can really say about the guys who did this is that they used a taser and stole someone's shiny object. Using a taser to rob someone doesn't make the bad guy a professional.

For all you know the violin is sitting in someone's living room because they aren't sure how the hell they're going to sell the thing. It could be something out of a crime drama or it could be the older versions of the kids who beat me up and took all my money when I was 13. I hope they catch them, whoever they are.

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