Armed Robber Snatches 300-Year-Old Stradivarius

Stun gun was used on Milwaukee concertmaster

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 29, 2014 3:39 AM CST

(Newser) – One of the most valuable instruments in the world was stolen Monday by a robber who used a stun gun on the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concertmaster in a parking lot before making off his with his priceless Stradivarius violin. "The artistic heritage of Milwaukee was assaulted and robbed last night," the city's police chief told reporters, estimating the 300-year-old instrument's value in the "high seven figures," reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The Lipinski Stradivarius, which was on indefinite loan from its anonymous owners, is wildly valuable only to a "tiny slice of the art world," the police chief says. "It can't be easily sold for even a fraction of its value." Police haven't ruled out the theft being a random street robbery, but they suspect it may have been stolen to order and are working with the FBI's art crimes unit. The orchestra's president says rare instruments like the Stradivarius, one of only around 600 in existence, are still in circulation because they "need to be played to live on," NBC reports.

A similar Stradivarius, the Lady Blunt from 1721.
A similar Stradivarius, the "Lady Blunt" from 1721.   (Photo: Business Wire)
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