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Milwaukee symphony violinist robbed of Stradivarius worth up to $6M

This 1721 Stradivarius violin sold for $16.33 million at auction in 2011. (Reuters)

Police in Milwaukee are investigating the theft of a Stradivarius violin potentially worth $6 million.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said Tuesday that the violin was taken from Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster violinist Frank Almond Monday night during an armed robbery. 

Flynn said a man and a woman approached Almond outside Wisconsin Lutheran College, where he had just given a performance, and used a Taser on him. The shock knocked Almond to the ground and forced him to drop his violin case, which the suspects promptly took. The pair then fled in a waiting minivan. WITI-TV reported that the violin case was found empty near the crime scene.  

"This is not something that can be easily sold for even a fraction of its monetary value," Flynn said Tuesday. "This is art theft." Flynn also noted that the crime is being investigated by both the FBI and Interpol. 

The violin is described as a 1715 "Lipinski" model and was on loan to Almond from its permanent owner. The Stradivarius is named for Antonio Stradiveri, a world-renowned violin maker whose designs have been the model for violin makers for over 300 years. Only a few hundred original Stradivarius violins are thought to exist today. 

The violin is thought to be worth around $6 million. 

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