A man and his daughter were murdered in the Paraguayan city of Aregua last month, and authorities there believe the horrific double-slaying to be related to the theft of several rare Stradivarius violins.
Bernard Raymond von Bredow, a 62-year-old German man living in Paraguay, and his 14-year-old daughter Lydia were brutally murdered back in October after “having been tortured” by their assailants, according to police.
And now, the local police in Aregua have arrested three men — two Germans and a Chilean — in their investigation into the killings and plot to steal the rare, expensive violins.
Commissioner Hugo Grance, the chief investigator of the local police in Aregua, announced that 58-year-old German man Volker Grannas was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of four violins believed to have been stolen from the von Bredow residence.
Also arrested this week were 60-year-old German Yves Asriel Spartacus Steinmetz, and 51-year-old Chilean Stephen Jorg Messing Darchinger.
According to the police, von Bredow took a trip to Germany recently and had apparently left the four violins in question — which are extremely rare, and were worth millions of dollars — with Grannas. When von Bredow returned, Grannas reportedly told him that they’d been destroyed in a fire, though police now know that’s not true — they were able to recover the precious instruments.
Grance believes that Grannas allegedly concocted a plot to steal the extremely rare violins from von Bredow, explaining:
“Our principal hypothesis is that the motive for the double crime was to find the international certification of authenticity of the violins so they could be sold.”
As for the murder scene itself, Grance informed the media that the slayings were horrific:
“ was found in complete disarray and blood stains indicated that the Germans were probably killed elsewhere on the property. The man had traces of having been tortured.”
Charges against the three detained men have not yet been formally filed, according to local prosecutor Lorena Ledesma. In fact, Ledesma believes that there may be more people involved in the crime and cover-up, and indicated that the investigation into the tragedy is continuing:
“To commit the crime and such a brutal murder it must be because they knew the victims. We’ve found a lot of evidence.”
Stradivarius violins were hand-crafted by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Violinists have long praised their high-quality craftsmanship as producing an ideal sound, and only a small handful of the instruments have survived to the present day. In 2011, just one sold for more than $10 million.
Here’s more from PBS on the reputation and performance of the centuries-old violins:
Sadly, crime related to the theft of these rare violins isn’t unheard of in recent times, either.
In 2014, a man attacked Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Frank Almond and stole his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin, which was worth an estimated $5 million at the time. Police in that case were able to recover the instrument, and they arrested the alleged attacker less than a week later.
As for the aftermath of this horrific double murder, our hearts go out to von Bredow and his daughter, and their family, friends, and loved ones as they grapple with the unexpected and terrifying loss.
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