Police Arrest Pair Suspected of Stealing Musical Instruments From St. Thomas and Other Campuses

A man and woman suspected of stealing musical instruments from the University of St. Thomas and three other Twin Cities campuses were arrested early Friday afternoon.

The St. Thomas Department of Public Safety issued an alert Thursday regarding the theft of three instruments – two trombones and a guitar – from Brady Educational Center on the university’s south campus.

The trombones were reported missing Nov. 13. One is owned by a student and the other by the university; both were taken from a secured locker in a Music Department rehearsal room in the lower level of Brady. It is not known how the lock was removed.

Earlier, on Nov. 4, a student-owned guitar was reported stolen from the rehearsal area. That instrument was not in a secured location.

The guitar and one of the trombones were recovered at an area pawn shop.

In addition to St. Thomas, similar thefts were reported at Macalester College, Augsburg College and Hamline University.  In all, about a dozen instruments were stolen from the four campuses over the past couple of weeks.

Sgt. Paul Paulos, public information officer for the St. Paul Police Department, said at a Friday afternoon news conference that Michael Lippert, 33, and Nicole Korolchuk, 29, had just been arrested during a traffic stop in Richfield and were being transferred to police headquarters in St. Paul.

Paulos said the two suspects were linked to the thefts because they used their Minnesota driver’s licenses for required identification at pawn shops where the instruments were located.

In addition to being suspected of stealing musical instruments, police believe Lippert and Korolchuk are linked to robberies committed during “open house” events that are held when homes are up for sale. Paulos said Lippert has pawned more than 100 items this year, including jewelry, electronics and power tools.

In addition to the trombones and guitar at St. Thomas, other campuses were missing saxophones, trumpets and violins. Paulos did not have an estimate of their value, but said the number is “in the thousands of dollars.”

To see the St. Thomas Public Safety alert on the thefts go here and click on “BEC Thefts.”