Salahadyn facing 15 years and Allah 18 years in prison in connection with theft of Stradivarius violin.
By H. Nelson Goodson
February 7, 2014
Milwaukee, WI - On Friday, both Salah I. Salahadyn, 41, and Universal K. Allah, 36, were charged each with one felony count of robbery and Allah was also charged with one felony count for possession with intent to deliver THC (marijuana). The robbery charges were filed in connection with the January 27 stolen Stradivarius violin worth between $6 to $10 million.
If convicted Salahadyn is facing up to 15 years in prison and Allah up 18 years in prison. A cash bail of $500 was set for Allah. Allah is expected back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 26.
On Thursday, Milwaukee police recovered the missing Stradivarius violin, at the 400 block of East side in a Bay View residence where Salahadyn had a friend store a suitcase in the attic. Salahadyn told police where he placed the violin after a plea agreement was reached for reduced charges.
The violin was found in good shape, according to police.
Salahadyn was charged in 1999 for stealing a small statue in 1995 from a downtown gallery.
Salahadyn and Allah and a woman, 32, were taken into custody on Monday morning after information and evidence, a Taser and Taser Probe connected Allah to the armed robbery. Salahadyn was known by police for a similar art theft in November 1995, when a small statue by Nicolas Africano was stolen from the Michael Lord Gallery at the Pfister Hotel. Salahadyn after four years later called the gallery owner to see, if he wanted to buy it back. The owner called police and Salahadyn was arrested.
Allah told police that he bought the taser for Salahadyn because he was a felon and couldn't buy one. The taser was then used by Salahadyn during the robbery. When police executed a search warrant at Allah's residence, they found a bag of marijuana worth up to more than $300. Allah confessed, that he sold the marijuana to make money for bills.
The complaint states, that a tip led to the suspects and evidence left at the crime scene allowed police to trace it to Allah. A $100K reward was being offered for information leading to its recovery.
The 1715 Stradivarius rare violin was reported stolen at a parking lot located at the Wisconsin Lutheran College. Police say that Frank Almond, the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra along with other members had just finished a performance and were walking to their car in the parking when the robbery occured. Salahadyn approached Almond and used a taser on him, it caused him to drop the violin. Salahadyn then picked up the violin and fled the scene in a mini van near by.
Several hours later, the violin case was found iat Washington Park, including an iPad, police say. The violin was the primary target, Milwaukee Police Chief Flynn said, during the press conference.
The violin is likely the most valuable single item ever stolen in the Milwaukee area, but the value is only appreciated by few collectors.
"It is important to note that this violin is valuable to a very small number of people in the world and is not something easily sold for what it is worth," according to police.