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Stolen Stradivarius

Photo CBS 58 - Chris Patterson
Photo CBS 58 - Chris Patterson
Saw a report on the news about a local violinist who has been using a "priceless" Strad (think millions most likely - it does have a price) that was loaned to him by the owner.  Apparently last night after a concert at Wisconsin Lutheran College it was stolen by two guys who jumped out of a van, tasered the violinist, grabbed it and took off.  The case and the violinist's iPad were recovered near Washington Park.

The first question that came to my mind was "What the heck is he doing taking this violin around and playing it at venues like this one"?  The report on Channel 12 compared it to a "Picasso".  Well, people don't ordinarily take Picassos to school art exhibits and, if they do, they properly transport and guard them.  They don't have one person carry them from the exhibit to their car.  It certainly doesn't make sense to have the violin transported in this fashion when the Symphony, of which this person is a member, has been promoting both him using the instrument and a recording he made using it.

I'm not an expert but I do know a bit about vintage musical instruments and I know guys who play ones that are probably worth about a 10th of what this one is worth and they wouldn't think of taking them to venues such as this one, much less walking across a parking lot on their own, at night carrying them.  The real value in these instruments, basically, is in how they record - not how they perform in concert.  

Either there's a whole lot of boneheaded irresponsibility going on here...or....
Lyle Ruble February 07, 2014 at 03:13 PM
@Cody Walker (aka Steve)...... Have you renewed your KKK membership yet?
Jay Sykes February 07, 2014 at 03:21 PM
I didn't expect that it would be local entrepreneurs; acting on their own behalf; with such a poor business plan.
® Cody Walker February 07, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Stereotyping is no laughing matter Lyle, that is just said. Especially from a person who claims to be from the party of tolerance.-------------------------------------------------------------------- ►Have you renewed your KKK membership yet? ◄ I'm not a democrat so not in the KKK. Can you answer my questions or will you continue to dodging them?
Lyle Ruble February 07, 2014 at 05:00 PM
@Cody Walker (aka Steve) ....... Since the Southern Strategy of the late 1960s and the emergence of the massive transference of southern Democrats to the Republican Party, the KKK is dominated by the conservative right and Republicans, just like the Tea Party is full of racists, no big secret. You're the one making racist statements and your a Republican, therefore your a Republican racist and there is a higher probability that you belong to the KKK.
Bob McBride February 07, 2014 at 05:07 PM
TPR (D), indeed. In fact, I feel perfectly safe stating that Frank Almond will be busting out the Strad for a performance at the Sharon Wilson center in Brookfield, Monday night. I would imagine that the concert will probably end somewhere around 10PM and would like to note for the record that the parking lot is not particularly well lit.
® Cody Walker February 07, 2014 at 05:30 PM
Lyle, you are the one that brought up race and made racial statement. Like all liberals you blame the other ideology for the things you do yourself.
® Cody Walker February 07, 2014 at 05:32 PM
I see they are returning the violin but still have not returned the gun of the bar owner who shot the robber 6 months ago. The police are themselves criminals.
Lyle Ruble February 07, 2014 at 05:58 PM
@Cody Walker (aka Steve) ........ No matter how your twist and turn to divert attention from your horrible statement, everyone knows where you stand an it's in print. ....... Did the bar owner have a permit? It may still be held in evidence also. For your sake, I hope your true identity isn't revealed. Cops just hate being called thieves.
Bob McBride February 08, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Kinda puzzled by the charges and bail on this. I keep hearing, lately, the $5MM value tossed around on the violin itself and they tasered Almond when they took it. From what I understand, the charges were dropped to "robbery", the bail for Universal Knowledge Allah was set at $500, $10K for Salmonella (whatever his name is - the "mastermind" - and why is the guy named "Universal Knowledge" not the mastermind?) and no charges are being brought against the getaway driver. I get that deals were made to get the violin back, but how much did the DA leave on the table here? Given that a weapon was used in the robbery and the value of the article stolen is so high, I'd think there would be some more substantial charges/bail numbers that could be leveled, even after cutting them a break for fessing up on where it was being stored. Really doesn't make a lot of sense...
Jay Sykes February 08, 2014 at 08:27 AM
Just curious: Prior to the Stradivarius robbery, has a Tazer ever been 'fired'/used successfully to commit 'armed robbery'. I think they would have difficultly saying it was a 'deadly' weapon, as the cops regularly demonstrate it as disabling;without any permanent harm
Bob McBride February 08, 2014 at 08:33 AM
Good question. I think I recall hearing of people who've died from being tasered. Someone could die from being attacked with a hammer as well, I suppose. To me, it's still "armed robbery", particularly since it was actually used on Almond, but that's just a hunch more than anything. At the very least you'd think there would be an assault tacked on. Also, doesn't the value of what's stolen generally have some effect on the charges issued?
Bob McBride February 08, 2014 at 08:43 AM
Here's a copy of the complaint w/charges as filed. Interestingly, one of them is being charged with possession of pot with intent to deliver, as well (Universal Knowledge Allah, aka Wilson, perhaps?) http://www.scribd.com/doc/205431020/Criminal-complaint-in-theft-of-Stradivarius-violin-in-Milwaukee
Jay Sykes February 08, 2014 at 09:24 AM
That was an interesting read, Bob. We must now rely upon the jury to convict and the Judge to sentence the maximum (15 years), plus the 3 1/2 years maximum for the marijuana charge. It is going to be harder for the Judge to rationalize a light sentence, than the DA/police negotiating away the charges. They would have looked like nincompoops, both locally and internationally, if they did not safely recover the Strad that never left the city limits.
Bob McBride February 08, 2014 at 09:57 AM
True. I just question the need to give away as much as they did to get the violin back. Given the record with juries and judges, I'm not confident that we're going to end up with anything harsher than 2 probations and one 8 year prison sentence. The fact that the violin was recovered, thanks to cooperation, and that it is, apparently, in unharmed condition is probably going to be taken into consideration for sentencing as well. Of course by the time this goes to trial it's likely to be mostly forgotten and not covered heavily, since everything is "back to normal" - including the continued insistence, apparently, in taking the thing out in cold weather to various venues. More disturbing (to me, anyways) is that it appears no real lesson was learned and, per Flynn I think it was, the recommended precaution going forward is that people from the community "volunteer" to escort Almond at events such as the one where it was stolen. At this point if Almond, the owner and the Symphony have no greater concern than to carry on as if nothing happened (unless people are willing to come forward and volunteer their time to be amateur security escorts), maybe what needs to happen is for it to be stolen again with a less desirable outcome. At least some other owners/musicians/organizations who operate in a similar fashion may sit up and take notice at that point.
® Cody Walker February 08, 2014 at 12:52 PM
First world problems.
Bob McBride February 08, 2014 at 12:57 PM
First world or third, in most cases they occur when someone is given something of value instead of buying it themselves. They don't appreciate the value of it and really have nothing invested in taking proper care of it.
® Cody Walker February 08, 2014 at 01:00 PM
® to divert attention from your horrible statement ®. What statement Lyle? Please quote it because right now you're lying yet again. Also you are low informed about Andy Kochanski's self defense, don't dare try and come up with conclusions when you are talking with a group of highly informed producers.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2014 at 04:09 PM
@Cody Walker (aka Steve) .... He it is you racist: " ►I'm sure she raised you to be rude, crude and unsympathetic to the less advantaged. ◄ My mother, who works in healthcare, raised me to pay my own bills. Be responsible and don't' gamble with your health, take advantage of health insurance to the level you feel fit. She she's the ones that you know, the dead beats every day. They come in, get fixed up, then pass the buck on to the producers. Even with more medicaid or Obamacare you are still passing the buck on to the high tax bracket payers like myself. Defending dead beats is why we are in this mess. The liberals always defend the poor, defend their bad decisions. If the hospitals would cut you off at the start we would have a healthy population of producers, and much less lazy dead beat takers." ...... The only thing you know how to produce is hate and discontent. I think it's time to go back to your Legos and let the adults do the serious discussion.
® Cody Walker February 08, 2014 at 05:06 PM
Yep. And that had nothing to do with race. I can't see how that has anything to do with this thread. Or are you just changing the subject instead of answering my question?
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2014 at 07:59 PM
@The Pale Rider.......If you go back to the thread that it was originally in, it was Steve blowing a 'dog whistle. Even if it didn't involve race, it is a terrible thing for him to say, with holding medical care so that the poor will die and not be such a burden. He is full of hate and malice and has been every since he first started on the Patch. Now if you want to be an apologist for Steve (aka Cody Walker), go ahead and sink to his level.
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2014 at 09:46 PM
@The Pale Rider .... You've made your position perfectly clear.
® Cody Walker February 09, 2014 at 02:22 AM
Lyle now you are back peddling and stating this quoted comment is not about race, when you are the one who brought up race in this thread. You personally associate yourself with racists and dead beats that stick it to companies and do not pay their bills for services received. And defend their bad decisions as if the productive taxpayer should support your lazy dead beat friends. As a producer I am not offended by the reality that you hide behind to promote and uplift the lazy dead beats you support.
Lyle Ruble February 09, 2014 at 10:45 AM
@Cody Walker ...... What gives you the right to sit in judgement of anyone? With you everything is about money, material things, and social status. ....... One of the things that separate us from other instinctually driven species is the ability to cognitively understand both the subjective and objective experiences of others and at times share emotionally. It is that which connects us with others and gives us the ability to count them as human beings. When one doesn't connect with understanding and awareness, it actually reduces you to being less than a full human being. ....... Over the course of the years that you've been posting and commenting on the Patch, you have continuously derided others for their understanding and awareness of conditions and such that eludes you and your very simplistic 'black and white' value system. Usually, as one gains experience through living, wisdom is gained and understanding increases allowing the person to become more human and worthy of being called a human being. ...... Over the years two groups have been your primary targets. First is your derision of public employees and second is the derision of those living in the urban inner city. ....... Your derision of public employees is based on the fact that they provide public services that are paid for out of our collective tax revenues. Most of the services provided are of good value and provides for the public good. Now we could argue whether or not the services need to be done and whether they could be done through privatization, but all in all our system is dependent on these unsung heroes of public service........ What is more disturbing is your constant attack on those who are less materially fortunate. Your constantly referring to those who are on government assistance in one form or another. Traditionally, in our area that is a 'dog whistle' reference to those living in the inner city, which is dominated by persons of color. Any reasonably intelligent person understands your reference is being made about people of color because they are the largest recipients of government assistance in our area. Therefore, when you speak of 'dead beats' you're, by inference, referring to people of color, proving yourself to be a racist. But you're not just a racist, but you include misogyny, anti-intellectualism, agism, LGBT attacks, etc. In short you see yourself as an elitist. Just because you produce something doesn't make you any better than anyone else and you need to stop thinking that it does.
® Cody Walker February 09, 2014 at 12:29 PM
Lyle is either distracting from his many judgmental blogs over the years, or just has reading comprehension issues. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------The word dead beat has nothing to do with race dum dum. It was used to label your friends that did not pay their bills and declared bankruptcy, sticking it to the responsible producers. I don't know the race of them, they could be green Chinese disable Jews for all I care. Dead beats come in many races. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- We were having a good time with this story before you showed up and made racist comments.
Lyle Ruble February 09, 2014 at 02:03 PM
@The Pale Rider .... What gives me the right to sit in judgement of Cody, is quite simple. Unlike Cody, I've been there, done that. I've got the life experience that her lacks. I have paid my dues. My life has been punctuated by both successes and failures. I think you would agree that some things we can control, somethings we cannot and we must make the most out of whatever life throws at us.
Lyle Ruble February 09, 2014 at 02:06 PM
@Cody......You continue on showing your lack of awareness. To bad that I injected some reality into your fun. Of course your fun includes ridicule and discounting others. Why don't you go down and volunteer at St.Bens and do something really useful.
Lyle Ruble February 09, 2014 at 04:20 PM
@The Pale Rider .... It is quite simple, he does not give any indication of that type of life experience.
Lyle Ruble February 09, 2014 at 07:31 PM
The Pale Rider...... :- )
Bob McBride February 15, 2014 at 01:30 PM
I realize this incident is pretty much old news at this point, but it still continues to give off a very fishy aroma. I wasn't aware, until my wife read this article in the dead tree version of the paper, that we had diverted the efforts of 40 (yes, 40) detectives from our homicide division for 10 days in order to crack this caper. ::::::: http://www.jsonline.com/news/crime/police-tapped-homicide-detectives-to-find-stradivarius-b99203640z1-245090531.html ::: For all those Milwaukee residents who think the outlying areas don't understand, don't care to address and are unwilling to devote the resources to Milwaukee's urban crime issues, you may wish to question why your own mayor and police chief decided to essentially step away from any ongoing investigations and allow them to grow colder by 10 days in order to address this very, VERY first world problem. Who's pulling the strings on this one (pun intended)?
® Cody Walker February 17, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Only in Tom Barrett's Milwaukee, urban crime is too hard to solve, best to try and look like a hero in the international news.

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