Kocsardy is a graduate student at UCLA. The school owns this Strad, made in 1732, worth about $2 million.
"The first thing I noticed was how light it is," Kocsardy says. "It's very light compared to any violin I've held. I never had anything this precious in my hands."
It's usually locked away in a vault on campus, but now Kocsardy gets to play it for the first time.
"It's very sensitive," she says. "It's like a really nice car that you just lightly push the pedal, and then it's zooming by."
Back in the '60s, this Strad was also stolen. Either that, or the man who had it on loan accidentally left it on the roof of his car and drove off.
Either way, it was found beside a freeway on-ramp — that's the story, at least. Each Stradivarius seems to have some story of survival.
Back in Milwaukee, days went by without a trace of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which was on loan to Almond.
It seemed like the perfect crime. Even before the instrument was stolen, the thief had watched Almond's every move.
"The guy knew where I lived, he knew my kids' names," Almond says. "He had actually attended a concert — and I hope he enjoyed the concert. ... This was a very, very premeditated incident that was on this guy's mind for at least five or six years."
One detail that the thief overlooked, though, was that an item that hot can't stay hidden for very long.
The Milwaukee Police Department and the FBI worked quickly. At a local news conference one week after the theft, Police Chief Edward Flynn approached the podium.
"Today the Milwaukee Police Department is pleased and very proud to announce the safe recovery of the Lapinski Stradivarius violin that was stolen," he said.
Police had discovered it, undamaged, the night before — in a suitcase in an attic.
Two men were arrested, including the mastermind behind the theft, who pleaded guilty this month to felony robbery.
Now, the violin is safely back in the hands of Frank Almond.
"It's survived wars and revolutions and, most recently, someone trying to steal it," he says.
Just another story of survival to add to this 299-year-old Stradivarius violin.
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