Universal Knowledge Allah, one of two men charged for the robbery of the 300-year-old ‘Lipinski’ Stradivarius violin, has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison. The thief pleaded guilty in May for his part in the mugging on 27 January, in which Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond was attacked with a stun gun while walking to his car.
In addition to his prison term, Allah will remain under extended supervision for another three-and-a-half years and must pay approximately $4,000 in lost wages and ambulance fees to Almond. The barber, who had no previous record, admitted supplying the Taser for the attack. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Dennis P. Moroney commented that someone at Allah’s ‘stage of life should simply know better’.
Fellow thief, Salah Salahadyn, who has previously been convicted of art theft, was set to enter a guilty plea, but had his hearing postponed.
Almond, who testified in court to suffering physical and emotional trauma following the attack, made the following statement:
‘After decades of playing high-end instruments, I considered myself fairly prudent in terms of personal safety and taking care of something so extraordinary as a Stradivarius violin. Even so I could’ve never imagined the unprovoked, violent attack resulting in the theft of something so fundamental to my life.’
The violin was recovered by Milwaukee Police in February; investigators discovered the $5m instrument undamaged, inside a suitcase, hidden at an address in the Bay View area of Milwaukee.
The 1715 ‘Lipinski’ has been on permanent loan to Almond since 2008.