Salah Salahadyn enters not guilty plea to robbery charge

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Salah Salahadyn, one of the men accused in the stolen Stradivarius violin case, pleaded not guilty on Monday, February 17th to the robbery charge against him.

Criminal charges were filed on Friday, February 7th in connection with the theft of the 1715 Lipinski Stradivarius violin.

According to the criminal complaint, police were called to investigate a robbery at Wisconsin Lutheran College around 10:20 p.m. on Monday, January 27th. Frank Almond, the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, had just wrapped up a performance at the school and exited the performance hall. The complaint says as Almond approached his car, he opened the rear door on his car to put the violin inside. A man walked up to him, “produced a flashlight-style Taser-type weapon, and fired that Taser at Mr. Almond.”

Almond told police the “ejected probes of the Taser struck him in the wrist and chest. Mr. Almond said he fell to the ground, and was momentarily incapacitated. Upon gaining control of himself, Mr. Almond said the Stradivarius Lipinski 1715 violin was missing.”

The complaint indicates the violin was estimated to be valued at $6 million. Also in the violin case were two 19th century bows with values of $20,000 and $30,000, an Apple iPad and chargers and a cell phone.

The complaint says a clarinetist with the MSO heard Almond yelling, “they got the violin” — and then “observed a 1990s model burgundy-colored minivan” leaving the parking lot at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Detectives on the scene of the crime located “small, confetti-size particles which are consistent with particles that are emitted when a Taser weapon is fired. These small pieces of paper contained identifying serial numbers.” When investigators tracked the confetti from the Taser, they found the Taser device was purchased by a person named Universal Allah.

Early on January 28th, the black canvas violin case that held the Stradivarius was found near 44th and Garfield in Milwaukee. The complaint says “numerous articles were either inside the case, or on the ground near the case.” But the violin was missing.

On Sunday, February 2nd, the complaint indicates a citizen contacted a Milwaukee police officer and said, “I know where the violin is at.” The citizen told the officer he was getting his haircut by Universal Allah on February 1st — and there was a lot of chatter in the barbershop about the violin. After the haircut, the citizen “was asked by Universal Allah to give him a ride home.” During that ride, “Allah said a person named ‘Salah’ stole the violin. Allah stated that ‘Salah’ had researched it and then did the robbery using a taser that Allah had purchased, describing that he ‘used the electric, not the heat.’” That citizen told the officer be believed “Salah” was Salah Jones (aka Salahadyn).

The complaint also indicates a confidential source said Salahadyn “spoke of stealing high-end art and how easily it could be stolen from unsuspecting victims. Salahadyn explained that his dream theft was a Stradivarius violin because of its potential value and the fact that it could be snatched from the hands of a musician as they walk down the street.”

On Monday, February 3rd, a search warrant was executed at the home of Salahadyn — and investigators found a binder with “color copies of articles related to Stradivarius violins and articles related to art thefts.”

When investigators talked with Allah, he indicated in summer 2013, “he received money from Salahadyn for the purchase of a taser. Allah said he made the purchase because he had a CCW permit and Salahadyn did not. The taser was shipped to the barbershop because he did not want the taser sitting at the apartment complex if Allah was not there.” The complaint goes on to say, “A few months later, Salahadyn told him that he needed the taser to acquire an ‘instrument’ that was rare and one of a kind. Allah said he knew that Salahadyn was going to rob someone of their ‘instrument’ by using the taser.”

On February 5th, detectives executed a search warrant at a home on E. Smith St. in Milwaukee and located the Stradivarius violin. It was found in a black suitcase in the attic of the home. The complaint says within the suitcase contained “identification for Salah Salahadyn.”

If convicted, Allah and Salahadyn each face up to 15 years in prison.