Two Milwaukee Men, Universal Knowledge Allah and Salah Salahadyn, Charged with Theft of Ex-Lipiński Stradivarius Violin from Frank Almond
Two Milwaukee men have been charged with stealing the "ex-Lipiński" Stradivarius violin that was recovered by police on February 5.
The men, Universal Knowledge Allah, 36, and Salah Salahadyn, 41, also known as Salah Jones, were arrested on February 3 in connection with the robbery. Allah also faces a charge of marijuana possession.
A woman, 32, whom police say drove the getaway van after the armed robbery on January 27, has not yet been charged.
The two men made initial court appearances on Friday.
Investigators were able to trace the taser which was fired at violinist Frank Almond during the robbery. When tasers are fired, they emit small, confetti-sized particles, which contain serial numbers.
With the help of the FBI, investigators used the confetti to trace the taser to Allah, who had purchased it in Texas.
According to the criminal complaint, Salahadyn had asked Allah, who has a concealed-weapons permit, to buy a taser for him last summer. In the state of Wisconsin, only permit holders may own a taser.
Allah apparently kept the Taser in a safe at the barbershop where he works, and gave it to Salahadyn last month when he asked for it.
According to the complaint, a customer at the barbershop where Allah works heard him and other customers talking about the robbery on February 1. The customer gave Allah a ride home, and during the ride Allah told him that a person named "Salah" had stolen the violin. Allah said that he purchased the taser that Salah used during the robbery, saying that Salah "used the electric, not the heat."
The next day, the customer shared the information with a Milwaukee police office he knew saying, "I know where the violin is at." By that time, investigators had already traced the taser back to Allah.
On February 3, police executed a search warrant at the home of Salahadyn. Investigators found a folder with "color copies of articles related to Stradivarius violins and articles related to art thefts."
On February 5, detectives executed a search warrant at a home on E. Smith Street in Milwaukee. They located the Stradivarius violin in a black suitcase in the attic of the home.
The violin, worth $5 million, appeared to be in perfect condition.
Almond said in a statement that he hoped to have the recovered violin returned to him as soon as possible. He played a recital in the Milwaukee area on Monday.
If convicted, Allah and Salahadyn each face up to 15 years in prison, Fox6 News reported.
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