Two suspects stole musical instruments from St. Paul colleges and items from open house events to support a drug habit, according to charges filed Monday.

Michael J. Lippert, 33, and Nicole M. Korolchuk, 29, were each charged in Ramsey County District Court with one count of theft. Neither has a permanent address. Charges allege that Korolchuk lives out of her car.

According to the complaints: Police used an automated pawn system to track a stolen trombone to Lippert, who had used his identification in the transaction. He and Korolchuk allegedly stole a $3,000 Getzen tenor trombone and a $6,000 Yamaha bass trombone from the University of St. Thomas on Nov. 13.

Video surveillance from the school showed the two walking out with the trombones, charges allege. Lippert received $78 at the pawnshop for the Getzen trombone, according to charges.

Richfield police arrested the two on Friday in Korolchuk’s car, which allegedly contained bolt cutters and a stolen viola. Lippert told police that he, Korolchuk and another man walked around St. Thomas, Hamline University, Macalester College and St. Catherine University until they saw something they wanted to steal, the charges said.

Lippert allegedly told police he pawned the items because he was the only one with identification.

St. Paul police believe the two are responsible for about a dozen instrument thefts, and more than 100 stolen items total, many of them allegedly taken at open houses. Lippert and Korolchuk have not been charged in all the cases police believe are linked to them.

Lippert was also charged Monday with one count of possession of stolen property. According to that complaint: On Nov. 4, he allegedly took a $1,000 guitar from St. Thomas and sold it to a music store for $600. On Nov. 11, he pawned a $1,000 violin taken from Hamline for $75. He also allegedly pawned two saxophones taken from Macalester.

“Lippert’s memory of all of the thefts from local schools is fuzzy due to his drug addiction,” the complaint said.

Korolchuk was charged earlier this month with two counts of theft of a controlled substance for allegedly taking prescription drugs during an open house.


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