Charges: 2 Stole Instruments from St. Paul Colleges, Items from Open Houses for Drugs

Updated: 11/18/2013 7:29 PM By: Cassie Hart

Two people accused of stealing about a dozen musical instruments worth thousands of dollars from three St. Paul colleges have been charged with theft Monday.

Michael Lippert, 33, and Nicole Korolchuk, 29, were arrested last week in a traffic stop in Richfield.

According to the criminal complaint, the pair allegedly stole a violin, a viola, a guitar, trumpets, saxophones and trombones from Macalester College, the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University in recent weeks.

A surveillance video captured a man and woman walking out of a building at the University of St. Thomas on Nov. 13, with two trombones.

Police checked the automate pawn system and found out the Korolchuk pawned a trombone matching the description of one reported missing from the university at a pawn shop in St. Paul. Lippert also had a history of pawning instruments, according to the complaint.
The two are also suspected in thefts at real-estate open houses in which they posed as potential homebuyers but left with valuables.

Lippert admitted he, Korolchuk and another man went to a number of colleges and stole instruments. He also admitted to stealing jewelry from open houses. He also said he pawned stuff for other people. He denied knowing all the instruments he pawned were stolen, according to the complaint.

Lippert denied using a bolt cutter to get into lockers at the colleges. Police recovered a pair from Korolchuk’s vehicle, according to the complaint.

Lippert told police, he and his friends were drug addicts whose thefts supported their habits, according to the complaint.

Additional charges against Korolchuk included two charges of theft of controlled substances, allegedly from a real-estate open house she attended Nov. 2 in the 2000 block of Dayton Avenue in St. Paul.

In the case of the theft from the open house, the complaint states, she told an investigator that she was in the market for a home, though she was living in her vehicle. She denied stealing items. The home on Dayton Avenue was listed at about $575,000.