One normally does not associate the high-society, intellectually-stimulating stigmas of classical music with theft and deception, yet this very thing has just occurred with an extremely pricey violin! Many of you may remember that Zakk Wylde had one of his prized guitars stolen earlier this year, and sadly, in the rock and metal world, instrument theft is no joking matter. Gear is often routinely left around and/or transported in dark venues with tons of loud noise to distract security from would-be thieves.
Too many times, we hear words of bands getting their vans or trailers broken into, a guitar case walking from a backstage area or bus, or some other piece of hard-earned gear going missing. Well, most times, musical thefts are for "moderately" expensive items- as in under $500,000. Well, one thief has taken the proverbial musical theft cake having stolen a $5,000,000 Stradivarius violin. Yes, you read that right, 5 MILLION DOLLARS. For those of you who do not know, Stradivarius is one of the premier, top-shelf instrument brands. Think PRS and then multiply it by 100 fold. This is the best of the best. And they aren't made anymore...
Remember, these instruments are CENTURIES old and possess building techniques and materials that were proprietary to the master builder Antonio Stradivari. Not only can these not be replaced, they can't even be reproduced. These one of a kind instruments are the pinnacle that all other fine instruments are compared to.
As I mentioned before, apparently even the genre of classical music is not immune to scum, as earlier this year in January, concert violinist Frank Almond was tased by a thief after his own concert, with the violin being stolen after the concertmaster collapsed to the icy ground.
Here we are in October of the same year, with the thief in custody thanks to some fine detective work. Salah Salahadyn is the name of this fine piece of societal garbage, who has pleaded guilty to his theft and now faces up to 10 years in prison.
The instrument was missing for nine days before police found it, in good condition, in a suitcase at the Milwaukee home of Salahadyn's acquaintances. Police said the homeowner didn't know what was in the suitcase, which was found in the attic.
Court documents allege that Salahadyn told an acquaintance that such a robbery would be his dream crime because of the instrument's value and the ease of grabbing it from a musician walking down the street. It wasn't his first being involved in such a crime: He pleaded guilty in 2000 to trying to resell a $25,000 statue to the art gallery owner from whom it had been stolen in 1995. His ex-girlfriend told investigators that while he hadn't stolen the statue himself, he did plot the theft.
The other man charged in the violin case, Universal K. Allah, was sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison after pleading guilty in May to being party to felony robbery, the same charge to which Salahadyn pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said Allah provided the stun gun used to attack the concertmaster, Frank Almond.
So yes, it would seem that this theft may have the best outcome, as did the theft of Zakk's Pelham Blue Les Paul- with the instrument being found in good shape and returned to its rightful owner. Thankfully this "dream crime" has been brought to justice, because it truly does take a special kind of go-getter to use a stun-gun on a concertmaster to steal a violin.
If you would like to check out more information around this horrendous theft, you can read more HERE
Thanks to Billboard for the pictures!