February 5, 2014

Lipinski Stradivarius theft, Milwaukee: Three Suspects Arrested, Violin Not Found

Milwaukee Police twitter: "Chief Edward
Flynn announces arrests of 3 suspects in
Stradivarius violin robbery."
Local television station TMJ4 covered the "breaking news" and posted an 11-minute video which included the press conference held Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. led by Milwaukee's Mayor Tom Barrett, Police Chief Edward Flynn, and Acting Special Agent in Charge G.B. Jones. Mayor Barrett praised the cooperation between the Milwaukee Police Department and the FBI during the "ongoing investigation" into the theft of the violin. This is what Chief Flynn said:
At this event I wanted to notify everyone that the Milwaukee Police Department will be seeking charges against three individuals for the January 27th theft and robbery from the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra of his priceless Stradivarius violin. The suspects are a 36-year-old man, a 41-year-old man, and a 32-year-old woman -- all from the city of Milwaukee. They were arrested February 3 and all three remain in our custody. Now the Milwaukee Police Department will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the District Attorney's Office. We emphasize that at this time, that although we have made arrests, we have not yet recovered the violin... This case came together rapidly in the city of Milwaukee and the leads were followed up with by our detectives who had invaluable help from the FBI, from their art unit as obviously they have a broad perspective. As we continue to search for this violin, I suspect that their assistance will continue to be invaluable. The important thing to stress is that within a week of this case our detectives made an arrest which we believe will result in these individuals being succesfully charged and convicted. Now, as I said, we do not have the violin. As is known, there is a substantial reward out for that violin and we urge the community to do what it can to develop information that can help us identify and locate and recover this priceless instrument.
Chief Flynn then gave phone numbers for lines to the police department and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and said that they have had 'valuable tips on these lines' and then opened up to the media for questions.

Is the violin in Milwaukee? Quick answer: "it's a reasonable supposition that it is still in our jurisdiction". The chief answered that the arrests were based on both information and physical evidence linked one of the suspects to this crime. Flynn answered another question that "at this time there is no indication that these three suspects were working for anyone but themselves". Chief Flynn would not speculate on motive, provide any information about results of a line-up, or the exact charges to be filed.

As for finding the violin, Chief Flynn said they would continue questioning the suspects and would be trying to illicit their cooperation -- he described them right now as "engaged in the process". The reward may have provided an "inducement" to some of the tips received. "We did get some calls and some of them were helpful," Flynn answered one journalist. And thanked another reporter for asking about the van which they are still seeking and asked the media to post the image of the van previously released. "The more information we can get, the quicker we can recover the van, and restore it to its owners," Flynn said. In answer to another question, he said that the case to the violin had been recovered within hours of the theft. The FBI representative Gibson said that they are pursuing leads outside of Wisconsin.

Here's a link to the news as posted by the Milwaukee Police Department "Suspects Arrested in Violin Robbery, Still Seeking Violin."

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