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Stolen Stradivarius found in good condition in Milwaukee -report

Source: Reuters - Thu, 6 Feb 2014 14:56 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, Feb 6 (Reuters) - A 300-year-old Stradivarius violin worth millions of dollars that was stolen last week from a concert violinist has been found in good condition in Milwaukee, local media reported on Thursday.

Milwaukee police had arrested two men, aged 36 and 41, and a woman, 32, on Monday in connection with the theft.

On Wednesday night, one of the suspects told investigators the violin was being kept at a residence on the city's east side, according to TMJ4.com, the website of a local NBC affiliate. The Stradivarius was retrieved and is at Milwaukee police headquarters, TMJ4.com said.

Police were not immediately available for comment.

A decision on charges could be made on Thursday, said Chief Deputy Milwaukee County District Attorney Kent Lovern.

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.

The violin has a fair replacement value of $5 million for insurance purposes, according to Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins, which were designated curators of the instrument when it was loaned to Almond in 2008 by its owner.

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 Colleen Jenkins; and Peter Galloway)

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