. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vintage Violins Stolen From Museum

Two violins, one made by the 17th century Italian master Antonio Stradivari, were stolen from a Moscow museum in what police say was a commissioned theft, newspapers have reported.


The Stradivarius and another violin made by Austrian master Jakob Steiner disappeared from the Glinka Musical Culture Museum during the night of May 25, the dailies Moskovsky Komsomolets and Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Saturday.


The museum estimates that the Stradivarius, made in 1671, is worth $1 million and the Steiner about $200,000, Moskovskaya Komsomolets reported.


A guard heard the alarm but checked only the front entrance, while the thieves escaped through a back door.


The police believe that one of the thieves had hidden in the museum during the day and then opened the door for an accomplice. They smashed the glass in the showcase where the violins were kept and disappeared with them.


Investigators think the crime was commissioned because the museum has other valuable exhibits, which the thieves did not touch.


The Stradivarius had belonged to Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, who left it in her will to David Oistrakh, a famous Soviet violinist. When Oistrakh died in 1974, his widow gave it to the museum.


The violin was used in the 1980s in the filming of a TV series about a violin theft.