R. Kelly's team called police claiming hundreds of his master recordings were stolen ... and now his camp thinks that could be behind the unauthorized release of the new "I Admit It" album.
According to the police report, obtained by TMZ, the Kelly master recordings were reported missing back in February ... swiped from an Illinois storage facility.
Cops say a man named Keith Calbert called to report a theft, telling officers he oversees the Kelly property being stored in the warehouse. Calbert told police several hundred of Kelly's recordings were missing, and he valued them in the millions of dollars.
It's interesting ... cops say Calbert told them 2 roadies removed the masters from the warehouse 9 months prior, and took them to California. Police say Calbert also told them he had advised one of the roadies to bring back the recordings ... but was told he needed to pay $160,000 for their return.
Police say Calbert showed them 10 empty shelves he said used to be completely full, and estimated between 300 to 500 missing recordings.
It's unclear why Kelly's team waited so long to make the report. In any event, cops say they investigated but it didn't go anywhere, so the case was closed with no arrests.
TMZ broke the story ... R. Kelly claims he had nothing to do with the recently released, 13-track "I Admit It" album.
His legal team says they're trying to find out who uploaded the music to Spotify and Apple Music, and those 2 roadies are high on their list of people to contact.
Now, Kelly's camp believes the alleged master recording theft may be tied to the unauthorized 13-track album.