Tracking a taser led officials to suspects in stolen violin case

1715 Lipinski Stradivarius violin

1715 Lipinski Stradivarius violin

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — During a press conference on Thursday, February 6th in which Milwaukee police, Mayor Tom Barrett and the FBI announced the recovery of the valuable Stradivarius violin — and it turns out, the weapon used the night of the attack left behind a valuable clue that helped officials solve this case.

The Milwaukee Police Department recovered the stolen 1715 Lipinski Stradivarius violin from a home in the city’s Bay View neighborhood. It appears to be in perfect condition — and is expected to be returned to its owner soon.

On Monday, January 27th, two armed suspects, a man and a woman, approached concertmaster violinist Frank Almond of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra who had just performed at Wisconsin Lutheran College.  Almond walked to a parking lot after the concert and the suspects approached Almond. They used a taser on Almond, causing him to drop the violin and fall to the ground. The suspects then stole the violin, valued at approximately $6 million.

In a news conference on Thursday, February 6th, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said team initially reached out to the FBI’s arts crimes team for advice in this case. Flynn said his officers worked closely with Taser International. Information received from the company led them to an individual in Milwaukee who had purchased the device. He was identified as 36-year-old Universal Allah. He was placed under arrest.

Chief Flynn said another anonymous tip several days into the investigation helped them identify a primary suspect in this theft. He is 41-year-old Salah Jones.

Chief Flynn says Taser International led officials to information in Texas, and eventually to the person who purchased the taser.

“Forensically speaking, the taser unit, the cartridge, they have serial numbers on them. So when the investigators get this information at the crime scen, they can trace back the serial numbers like you would on any regular firearm as well and see where this item was purchased,” Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice at WCTC told FOX6 News.

Dorow says it is possible a fingerprint or DNA could have been found at the scene as well.

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