Police searched Sunday for three men who mugged a musician and stole a 17th century violin said to have belonged to Mozart's father, but its owner said he fears the thieves will sell off the $150,000 instrument.

Authorities had no firm clues to the identities of the three men who snatched the violin from Christopher Lee, 33, as he walked toward his upper Manhattan apartment in broad daylight Saturday afternoon.Lee said the search for the violin was stymied because it was stolen during the Easter holiday weekend. "The more time that goes by" the greater the chance it will be sold and transported out of the country, he said.

"It's very hard to wait," Lee said. "I'm worried that it might end up in South America or Japan because that's where there is a large market for the instruments."