Die grootste kunshistorie in die geskiedenis

Die grootste kunshistorie in die geskiedenis

Die gons lui om 01:24. Terwyl die laaste van die St. Patrick's Day -onthullers in Boston hul laaste drankies sak, voordat hulle op 18 Maart 1990 ingaan, kyk die nagwagter Richard Abath op van sy sekuriteitsbank om twee mans in polisie -uniforms en -pette te sien by die deur van die Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

'Polisie', het een van die mans aangekondig. 'Ons is hier oor die onrus.'

Alhoewel hy opgelei is om eers die polisie se hoofkwartier in Boston te bel om die name van die beamptes en kentekennommers te bevestig, het die 23-jarige Abath-'n aspirant-rockmusikant wat dae tevore kennis gegee het-op 'n knoppie gedruk om die paartjie binne te laat. Die uniformmanne het Abath beveel om sy medewagter, die 25-jarige Randy Hestand, na die voorportaal te ontbied.

'U lyk bekend,' het een van die mans vir Abath gesê. 'Ek dink ons ​​het 'n lasbrief vir u inhegtenisneming. Kom agter die lessenaar uit en wys ons 'n identifikasie. " Toe hy sy tweede protokolbreuk maak, verlaat Abath sy pos en stap weg van die museum se enigste paniekalarm. Die uniformmanne het die wag skielik teen 'n muur gedwing en hom geboei voordat hy dieselfde gedoen het aan die aankomende Hestand, wat vir 'n siek kollega ingevul het en die nagskof vir die eerste keer gewerk het.

'Dit is 'n roof, menere', het een van die bedrieërs aangekondig asof dit nog nie duidelik was nie. Deur middel van kleefband het die indringers albei wagte soos mummies toegedraai, selfs Abath se skouerlengte hare bedek en hulle na die kelder gelei waar hulle Hestand aan 'n wasbak geboei het en Abath na 'n werkbank 40 meter verder.

Die diewe het toe die museum wat die filantroop Isabella Stewart Gardner in 1903 geopen het, as 'n welwillende geskenk aan die mense van Boston verwoes. Die operasie was skaars chirurgies. Die diewe het vergulde skilderrame op marmervloere stukkend geslaan en doeke van hul houtkante gesny. Die rowers het 'n leë raam op die kantoorstoel van die veiligheidsdirekteur van die museum gelaat en die opnameband van die geslote kringtelevisiestelsel verwyder voordat hulle 81 minute na hul aankoms vertrek het in 'n donkerkleurige luikrug wat in die mistige nag opgelos het.

Die volgende oggend is Abath en Hestand gevind, maar 13 kunswerke ter waarde van $ 500 miljoen ontbreek. Die duurste stuk was Johannes Vermeer se "The Concert", een van slegs 36 bekende skilderye deur die Nederlandse meester. Die rowers het weggekom met 'n skets en twee skilderye van Rembrandt, insluitend sy enigste bekende seegesig, "Storm op die See van Galilea."

'N Govaert Flinck -landskap, Edouard Manet se "Chez Tortoni", vyf waterverfsketse en sketse van Edgar Degas, 'n eindarend wat bo -op 'n vlag van Napoleon was en 'n ou Chinese vaas, was ook geneem. Vreemd genoeg het die rowers die waardevolste skildery van die museum, Titian se "The Rape of Europa", onaangeraak gelaat, maar 'n afgewikkelde kapstok wat naby die snoepmasjien gevind is, het voorgestel dat hulle ook sjokoladestafies gepil het.

'N Dag na die inbraak het die Boston Globe berig dat kunskenners bespiegel het dat die skatte “waarskynlik vooraf deur 'n swartmarkversamelaar buite die land gekontrakteer is”. Latyns -Amerikaanse dwelmkartelle, Ierse militante van die Republikeinse weermag en selfs Vatikaan -agente is as verdagtes aangehou. Die berugtheid het ook op die berugte Boston -bendeganger James “Whitey” Bulger geval, maar hy was op soek na wie ook al die wreedaardige misdaad op sy tuisveld gepleeg het, sodat hy ’n snit kon opdoen. Die FBI -ondersoek na Abath, wat die enigste persoon was wat deur bewegingsensors in die galery waaruit die Manet gevee is, opgespoor is, het geen antwoorde opgelewer nie.

25 jaar lank bly leidrade vals, en die saak het koud geword. "Dit is 'n skouspelagtige raaisel - vanweë die waarde van die stukke en die waaghals van die slegte ouens," sê Stephen Kurkjian, skrywer van Master Thieves: Die Boston -gangsters wat die wêreld se grootste kunsroof afgetrek het. Hy sê egter dat die oortreders leidrade agtergelaat het dat 'n welgestelde versamelaar nie die brein was nie. "Die wrede manier waarop hulle die kunswerk behandel het om dit te steel, glo dat dit 'n telling was wat in opdrag van 'n dr. No of 'n heer Big was wat nie sonder 'n Manet, Rembrandt of Vermeer kon bestaan ​​nie."

Kurkjian meen die diefstal is uitgebroei in die onderwêreld van Boston, wat in 1990 deur 'n grasveldoorlog tussen een kriminele bende onder leiding van Frank Salemme en 'n ander onder leiding van Vincent Ferrara en J.R. Russo geruk is. Soos Kurkjian berig, het die FBI die museum nege jaar voor die inbraak in kennis gestel dat 'n maffia -bende beplan om te staak met diewe wat hulself as polisiebeamptes voordoen. Volgens Meester Diewe, het die lae-vlak gangster Louis Royce eerstehands geweet van die lui veiligheid van die museum, aangesien hy as 'n tiener sluimerend in die galerye geslaap het.

Volgens Kurkjian is die waarskynlikste scenario dat 'n stuurman vir Ferrara die rooftog uitgevoer het. Die stuurman, wat volgens sy baas die misdaad erken het, het verskeie kere deur die museum getoer saam met die berugte kunsdief Myles Connor Jr. en was met twee polisie -uniforms in 'n sak by 'n plaaslike sosiale klub gesien. Die motief? Om die stukke as onderhandelingsskyfies te gebruik om Ferrara, wat in die tronk was op aanklagte van rampokkery, vry te laat. Kurkjian merk op dat Connor in 1975 'n verlaagde vonnis gekry het in ruil vir die terugkeer van 'n Rembrandt wat uit Boston se Museum of Fine Arts gesteel is. 'Daaruit het die wilde oortuiging gekom dat as u 'n kunswerk steel, u 'n ooreenkoms kan maak vir 'n kriminele medewerker,' sê hy.

Ferrara se stuurman is in 1991 vermoor, en as hy die oortreder was, het die ligging van die kunswerke moontlik na sy graf gegaan. 'Selfs binne die bendes sou dit nie 'n gedeelde geheim gewees het nie,' sê Kurkjian. 'As die bendelede wat dit uitgehaal het, vermoor word - en dit is my sin omdat hulle allerhande gewelddadige aktiwiteite onderneem het - weet niemand presies waar hulle die goed weggesteek het nie, behalwe gerugte en insinuasies onder voormalige bendelede en hul gesinne. ”

Op die herdenking van die rooftog in 2013 het die FBI 'met 'n groot mate van vertroue' berig dat hy ook glo dat 'n kriminele organisasie agter die rooftog staan. Dit het egter nooit 'n verdagte in die openbaar genoem nie. Die verjaring van die roof het in 1995 opgehardloop, en die federale owerhede het gesê dat hulle bereid is om immuniteit te bied vir die besit van gesteelde goedere as die stukke terugbesorg word. 'N Beloning word steeds aangebied.

Sedert Gardner se dood in 1924 is haar museum betyds gevries, met haar testament dat geen kunswerke van die presiese plek waar sy dit geplaas het, verskuif kon word nie. Vir meer as 30 jaar is die Dutch Room ook onaangeraak met vier leë rame wat aan die muur hang, herinner aan die persoonlike verlies vir kunsliefhebbers, maar ook hoopvolle simbole wat die skilderye eendag sal terugkeer.


Versekeringstrivia: die grootste kunsroof in die geskiedenis

Op 'n ysige Maart -aand in 1990 is dertien kunswerke uit die Isabella Stewart Gardner -museum in Boston gesteel. Onder die wat geneem is, was twee skilderye van Rembrandt, Vermeer's Die konsert, vyf Degas -tekeninge, en Manet's By Tortoni. Die hele rooftog het net minder as 90 minute geneem.

Ondanks verskeie leidrade, baie skinderpraatjies en die moontlikheid van spoggerige mafioso -manne, is die kuns nooit herwin nie. Die werke word op 'n gesamentlike waarde van $ 500 miljoen waardeer, wat die diefstal in die Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum tot die grootste kunsverskuiwing maak.

  • Volgens die destydse woordvoerder van die museum, Barry Wanger, was die versameling "verseker teen skade, maar nie teen diefstal nie". (Bietjie meer oor die verrassende besluit.)
  • Die Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is gebou om die persoonlike versameling van. wag vir dit. Isabella Stewart Gardner, 'n 19de -eeuse filantroop en versamelaar wat meesterstukke uit Europa teruggebring het. Haar eerste aankope is gefinansier deur geld wat sy van haar pa, 'n linnehandelaar, geërf het.
  • Gardner se testament het die museum verlaat met 'n skenking van miljoene dollars en die bepaling dat niks verskuif, verkoop of by die versameling gevoeg kan word nie. Dit het beteken dat selfs as 'n werk gesteel is, nuwe kuns nie in die plek daarvan gekoop kon word nie.

Wat is die nuutste?

In Mei 2020 het Vincent van Gogh's Die Pastorie -tuin by Nuenen in die lente is uit die Singer Laren Museum in Nederland gesteel. Verlede jaar het diewe ook die Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford getref en vir 'n derde keer (!) Frans Hals gesteel Twee laggende seuns met 'n beker bier hierdie jaar het diewe reeds die Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen getref. In Frankryk alleen word beraam dat 20 tot 30 werke elke jaar gesteel word. As ons dus na buite ekstrapoleer, is dit ... wel basies, baie kuns ontbreek wêreldwyd!

En hoewel private en korporatiewe versamelaars gewoonlik elke kunswerk verseker, doen die meeste museums dit nie omdat hul premies astronomies sou wees nie. En selfs as 'n museum dit kon bekostig om te betaal, hoe sou hulle dan eers die waarde van iets van onskatbare waarde kon begin bereken? Hoe begin u byvoorbeeld 'n dollarprys op die Mona Lisa? (Tensy jy natuurlik Jeff Bezos is en honger is). Alhoewel dit dalk vreemd klink, was die gebrek aan diefstalversekering van Isabella Stewart Gardner eintlik die norm.

Nou wat?

Soms is geen nuus goeie nuus nie, maar in die geval van die Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum beteken geen nuus geen kuns nie. Die ondersoek duur voort en die beloningsgeld het toegeneem. (As u iets weet wat tot die herstel van die kuns kan lei, is daar 'n goeie $ 10 miljoen op die spel.) Wat die skilderye betref: hoewel dit moeilik is om iets te verkoop wat onmiddellik herkenbaar is, is dit nie ondenkbaar nie. Ondersoekers het jare lank gedink die werke het aan die ooskus gebly, maar na meer as twee dekades blyk dit dat alles moontlik is. As u nog dieper wil gaan, beveel Marble graag hierdie Netflix -dokumentêr oor die roof en die ondersoek aan. Ons gee dit, uh, vyf uit vyf albasters.

Nog 'n les om van hierdie verhaal weg te neem: aangesien u waarskynlik nie 'n groot museum is nie, u moet verseker die items in u huis. En as u dit doen, is Marble daar om u te help om dit alles in een digitale beursie te organiseer.


Inhoud

Die Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is gebou onder leiding van die kunsversamelaar Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924) om haar persoonlike kunsversameling te huisves. [1] Die museum is in 1903 vir die publiek oopgemaak, en Gardner het voortgegaan om die versameling uit te brei en te reël totdat sy in 1924 gesterf het. Sy verlaat die museum met 'n skenking van $ 3,6 miljoen, [2] en haar testament bepaal dat die reëling van die kunswerke mag nie verander word nie en geen items mag in die versameling verkoop of gekoop word nie. [1]

Teen die tagtigerjare was die museum min geld. [3] Hierdie finansiële spanning het die museum in 'n swak toestand gelaat; dit het nie 'n klimaatbeheerstelsel en 'n versekeringspolis nodig nie en was basiese instandhouding van die gebou nodig. [4] [5] [3] Nadat die Federale Buro vir Ondersoek (FBI) 'n komplot van Boston -misdadigers ontdek het om die museum in 1982 te beroof, het die museum fondse bewillig om die veiligheid te verbeter. [6] Onder hierdie verbeterings was 60 infrarooi bewegingsdetektore en 'n geslote kringtelevisiestelsel wat bestaan ​​uit vier kameras wat om die gebou se omtrek geplaas is. [7] [8] [6] Daar is geen kameras geïnstalleer nie, aangesien die kuratorium gedink het dat die installering van sulke toerusting in die historiese gebou te duur sou wees. [4] Meer veiligheidswagte is ook aangestel. [6] Ondanks hierdie sekuriteitsverbeterings, was die enigste manier waarop die polisie na die museum ontbied kon word, met 'n knoppie by die veiligheidsbank. Ander museums het destyds 'n veilige stelsel gehad, wat nagwagte vereis het om per uur na die polisie te bel om aan te dui dat alles goed is. [8]

'N Onafhanklike sekuriteitskonsultant het die werksaamhede van die museum in 1988 hersien en vasgestel dat dit gelyk is aan die meeste ander museums, maar het verbeterings aanbeveel. [6] Die sekuriteitsdirekteur by die Museum of Fine Arts in Boston het ook veiligheidsopgraderings aan die museum voorgestel. [9] As gevolg van die finansiële spanning van die museum en die wens van mev. Gardner teen groot opknappings, het die kuratorium hierdie sekuriteitsverbeterings nie goedgekeur nie. [6] [10] [11] Die direksie het ook 'n versoek van die sekuriteitsdirekteur vir hoër wagsalarisse geweier in 'n poging om meer gekwalifiseerde aansoekers vir die pos te lok. Die huidige wagte is effens bo die minimum loon betaal. [12] Die veiligheidsfoute van die museum was 'n oop geheim onder die wagte. [13]

Voorspel wysig

Die rooftog het plaasgevind in die vroeë oggendure van Sondag, 18 Maart 1990. [14] Die diewe is eers omstreeks 12:30 deur verskeie St. Patrick's -onthullers gesien terwyl hulle 'n partytjie naby die museum verlaat het. [15] [14] Die twee mans was vermom as polisiebeamptes en parkeer in 'n luikrug op Palaceweg, ongeveer honderd voet van die syingang af. [16] [14] Die getuies het geglo dat hulle polisiemanne is. [14]

Die museumwagte wat daardie aand aan diens was, was Rick Abath (23) en Randy Hestand (25) Abath was 'n gereelde nagwag en dit was Hestand se eerste keer op die nagskof. [7] Die veiligheidsbeleid het volgehou dat een wag die galerye met 'n flitslig en 'n walkie-talkie deur die galerye gepatrolleer het, terwyl die ander een by die sekuriteitstoonbank gesit het. [7] Abath het eers gaan patrolleer. Tydens sy patrollie het vuuralarms in verskillende kamers in die museum afgegaan, maar hy kon geen vuur of rook opspoor nie. [8] [17] Abath het teruggekeer na die sekuriteitskamer waar die brandalarmpaneel rook in verskeie kamers aangedui het. Hy het 'n soort fout aangeneem en die paneel gesluit. [8] [16] Hy gaan terug op patrollie en voordat hy sy rondtes voltooi het, stop hy vinnig by die ingang van die museum, maak die sydeur kort oop en sluit dit weer. Hy het nie vir Hestand gesê dat hy dit doen of hoekom nie. [16] Abath het sy toer voltooi en omstreeks 01:00 teruggekeer na die sekuriteitstoonbank, waarna Hestand met sy rondtes begin het. [16]

Wagte is gedemp Redigeer

Om 01:20 ry die diewe op na die syingang, parkeer en stap tot by die sydeur. [15] [17] Hulle lui die gonser, wat hulle via 'n interkom met Abath verbind het. Hulle het aan Abath verduidelik dat hulle die polisie ondersoek na 'n steurnis en dat daar ingegons moet word. [15] Abath kon hulle op die geslote kringtelevisie sien dra wat lyk asof dit regte polisie-uniforms was. [15] [18] Hy was nie bewus van enige steurnis nie, maar het teoreties gesê dat dit miskien Sint Patricksdag was, miskien het 'n skelm oor die heining geklim en iemand het dit gesien en aangemeld. [19] Abath het die mans om 01:24 ingelaat [18] [20]

Die diewe is in 'n geslote voorportaal ingelaat wat die sydeur van die museum geskei het. [21] Hulle het Abath by sy lessenaar genader en gevra of daar nog iemand in die museum is en Abath met die radio na Hestand afbring om terug te keer na die veiligheidsbank. [21] [18] Abath het rondom hierdie tyd opgemerk dat die snor op die langer man vals was. [21] Die korter man het aan Abath gesê dat hy bekend lyk, dat hulle 'n lasbrief vir sy arrestasie kan hê, en om agter die lessenaar uit te kom en identifikasie te verskaf. [21] Abath het gehoor gegee en weggestap van die lessenaar waar die enigste paniekknoppie was om die polisie te waarsku. [21] [18] Die korter man het Abath teen 'n muur gedwing, sy bene gesprei en hom geboei. Abath het opgemerk dat hy nie ondersoek is nie. [22] Hestand het omstreeks hierdie tyd by die kamer ingestap, en die groter dief het hom omgedraai en geboei. [22] Nadat albei wagte geboei was, het die diewe hul ware voorneme onthul om die museum te beroof en die wagte gevra om hulle geen probleme te gee nie. [22]

Die diewe vou kleeflint om die koppe en oë van die wagte. Sonder om aanwysings te vra, het hulle die wagte na die kelder gelei waar hulle aan 'n stoompyp en werkbank geboei was. [22] [23] Die diewe het die beursies van die wagte ondersoek en verduidelik dat hulle weet waar hulle woon, om niks aan die owerhede te vertel nie en dat hulle oor 'n jaar 'n beloning sou kry. [22] [23] [24] Dit het die diewe 11 minute geneem om die wagte te onderwerp, dit was nou ongeveer 01:35 [25] [20]

Diefstal van die werke Edit

Die diewe se bewegings deur die museum is op infrarooi bewegingsdetektore aangeteken. [26] Trappe in die eerste kamer wat hulle binnegegaan het, die Nederlandse kamer op die tweede verdieping, is eers om 01:48 aangeteken [25] Dit was 13 minute nadat hulle die wagte gedemp het, miskien gewag om seker te maak dat geen polisie gewaarsku word nie . [25]

Toe diewe die skilderye in die Nederlandse kamer nader, begin 'n toestel piep wat normaalweg sou struikel as 'n beskermheer te naby 'n skildery was. Die diewe het dit stukkend geslaan. [27] [23] Hulle het geneem Die storm op die See van Galilea en A Lady and Gentleman in Black en gooi dit op die marmervloer wat hul glasrame stukkend was. Met 'n lem sny hulle die doeke uit hul draagbaar. [27] [28] [29] Hulle het ook 'n groot selfportret-olieverfskildery van Rembrandt van die muur verwyder, maar dit teen 'n kas laat leun. [30] [29] Ondersoekers meen dat hulle dit as te groot beskou het om te vervoer, moontlik omdat dit op hout geverf is, nie meer duursame doek soos die ander nie. [31] [30] In plaas daarvan het die diewe onder die groter portret 'n klein selfportret-ets van Rembrandt met 'n posseëlgrootte vertoon. [32] [29] Aan die regterkant van die kamer het hulle verwyder Landskap met Obelisk en Die Konsert uit hul rame. [33] Die laaste stuk wat uit die kamer geneem is, was 'n ou Chinese gu. [34]

Om 1:51 uur, terwyl die een dief in die Dutch Room bly werk, kom die ander een in 'n nou gang wat die Short Gallery aan die ander kant van die tweede verdieping genoem word. Die ander dief het gou aangesluit. [29] [34] In hierdie kamer begin hulle skroewe verwyder vir 'n raam met 'n Napoleontiese vlag, waarskynlik 'n poging om die vlag te steel. Dit lyk asof hulle deurgaans opgegee het, aangesien nie al die skroewe verwyder is nie en uiteindelik net die blootgestelde arend op die vlagpaal geneem het. [34] [35] Hulle het ook vyf Degas -sketse uit die kamer geneem. [34] [35] Die laaste werk wat gesteel is, was By Tortoni vanaf die Blue Room op die eerste verdieping. [26] [35] Die museum se bewegingsdetektore het tydens die diewe se tyd in die gebou geen beweging binne die Blue Room opgemerk nie. [26] Die enigste voetstappe wat die aand in die kamer opgespoor is, was Abath s'n tydens die twee kere wat hy vroeër deur die galery op sy patrollie gegaan het. [26]

Terwyl hulle gereed was om te vertrek, het die diewe 'n laaste keer by die wagte gekyk en gevra of hulle gemaklik is. [36] Hulle verhuis daarna na die kantoor van die sekuriteitsdirekteur, waar hulle die videokassette met hul ingang op die geslote kringkamera's en die data-afdrukke van die bewegingsopsporingstoerusting neem. Die bewegingsdata is steeds op 'n hardeskyf vasgelê, wat onaangeraak gebly het. Die raam vir By Tortoni is by die sekuriteitsdirekteur se lessenaar gelos. [36] Die diewe het toe verhuis om die kunswerke uit die museum te haal. Die sydeure is een keer om 02:40 oopgemaak en weer vir die laaste keer om 02:45 [37] [36] Die rooftog duur 81 minute. [36]

Die volgende skof wagte het later die oggend aangekom en besef dat iets fout is toe hulle nie met iemand binne kon skakel om ingelaat te word nie. lessenaar en die polisie gebel. [38] [39] Die polisie het die gebou deursoek totdat hulle gevind het dat die wagte steeds vasgebind in die kelder was. [40] [41]

Selfportret - Rembrandt

Cortege aux Environs de Florence - Degas

Program vir 'n artistieke Soirée 1 - Degas

Program vir 'n artistieke Soirée 2 - Degas

Drie gemonteer jockeys - Degas

Dertien werke is gesteel. In 1990 beraam die FBI die waarde van die vervoer op $ 200 miljoen [42] en verhoog hierdie skatting tot $ 500 miljoen teen 2000. [42] Aan die einde van die 2000's het sommige kunshandelaars voorgestel dat die vervoer $ 600 miljoen werd kan wees. [43] Dit is beskou as die grootste museumstoornis in terme van waarde totdat dit in 2019 deur die Dresden Green Vault -inbraak oortref is. [44]

Die waardevolste werke is uit die Nederlandse kamer geneem. [45] [46] Hieronder was Die Konsert deur die Nederlandse skilder Vermeer (1632–75), een van slegs 34 [a] skilderye wat aan hom toegeskryf word. [47] Die skildery is verantwoordelik vir die helfte van die waarde van die sleepwa, [43] [48] wat in 2015 op $ 250 miljoen geraam is. [32] Kenners meen dat dit die waardevolste gesteelde voorwerp ter wêreld kan wees. [48] ​​[49] In dieselfde kamer het die diewe werke van die Nederlandse skilder Rembrandt (1606–69) geteiken. [45] Hierdie ingesluit Die storm op die See van Galilea, sy enigste seegesig en die waardevolste van sy werke wat die nag gesteel is. [50] [25] Na raming het die raming sy waarde op meer as $ 100 miljoen gestel. [27] Die ander Rembrandt -werke wat geneem is, was A Lady and Gentleman in Black en 'n selfportret-ets in 'n posseëlgrootte. [32] [42] Laasgenoemde is voorheen gesteel en terugbesorg in 1970. [32] Die diewe het moontlik gevat Landskap met Obelisk omdat hy geglo het dat dit 'n Rembrandt is, word dit lank aan hom toegeskryf totdat dit 'n paar jaar voor die aanval stilweg aan sy leerling Govert Flinck (1615–60) toegeskryf is. [42] Die laaste item wat uit die Dutch Room geneem is, was 'n bronsgom wat ongeveer 25 cm lank was. Die beker, wat tradisioneel gebruik is om wyn in antieke China te bedien, was een van die oudste werke in die museum en dateer uit die Shang -dinastie in die 12de eeu vC. [51] [20] Die beraamde waarde daarvan is slegs 'n paar duisend dollar. [34]

In die Short Gallery is vyf sketse van die Franse kunstenaar Edgar Degas (1834–1917) gesteel. [52] Hulle is elk op papier van minder as 'n vierkante voet gemaak en gemaak met potlode, ink, wasgoed en houtskool. [31] Hulle is relatief min waarde in vergelyking met die ander gesteelde werke, [31] ter waarde van minder as $ 100,000 saam. [34] 'n Finale Franse keiserarend van 10 cm lank (25 cm) van die hoek van 'n geraamde vlag vir die keiserwag van Napoleon is ook geneem. Daar is 'n beloning van $ 100,000 vir inligting wat tot die terugkeer van die finale alleen kan lei. [53] Dit het moontlik soos goud vir die diewe gelyk. [47] By Tortoni deur die Franse skilder Édouard Manet (1832–1883) uit die Blue Room geneem, was dit die enigste item wat op die eerste verdieping geneem is. [54]

Die eklektiese mengsel van items het kundiges verbaas. [34] [55] Terwyl sommige van die skilderye waardevol was, het die diewe ander waardevolle werke van Raphael, Botticelli en Michelangelo deurgegee en dit ongestoord gelaat en gekies om relatief waardevolle items soos die gu en finial te neem. [55] [29] [34] [35] Die diewe het nooit die derde verdieping betree waar Titian's was nie Die verkragting van Europa hang, een van die waardevolste skilderye in die stad. [26] [56] Die keuse van werke en die wrede maniere waarop diewe die kunswerke hanteer het, het ondersoekbeamptes laat glo dat die diewe nie kundiges was om spesifieke werke te steel nie. [57] [58]

Aangesien Gardner se testament bepaal dat niks in haar versameling verskuif moet word nie, bly die leë rame vir die gesteelde skilderye op hul onderskeie plekke in die museum hang as plekhouers vir hul moontlike terugkeer. [59] As gevolg van die lae fondse van die museum en die gebrek aan 'n versekeringspolis, het die direkteur hulp van Sotheby's en Christie's veilingshuise gevra om binne drie dae 'n beloning van $ 1 miljoen te betaal. [60] Dit is verhoog tot $ 5 miljoen in 1997. [61] In 2017 is dit verdubbel tot $ 10 miljoen met 'n vervaldatum wat aan die einde van die jaar vasgestel is. [62] [63] [64] Hierdie beloning is verleng na 'n uitstorting van wenke van die publiek. [65] Dit is die grootste oorvloed wat ooit deur 'n private instelling aangebied is. [b] [67] Die beloning is vir "inligting wat direk lei tot die herstel van al [hul] items in 'n goeie toestand". [68] Federale aanklaers het verklaar dat enigiemand wat die items gewillig terugstuur, nie vervolg sal word nie. Die verjaringstermyn het ook in 1995 verstryk, sodat die diewe en enigiemand wat aan diefstal deelgeneem het, nie vervolg kan word nie. [69]

Die Federale Buro vir Ondersoek (FBI) het onmiddellik beheer oor die saak geneem omdat die kunswerk waarskynlik staatsgrense kan oorsteek. [40] [70] Ondersoekers noem die saak uniek vanweë die gebrek aan sterk fisiese bewyse. [71] Die diewe het geen voetspore of hare agtergelaat nie, en dit is onduidelik of die vingerafdrukke wat op die toneel gelaat is, van die diewe of museumpersoneel was. [71] [72] Die FBI het in die daaropvolgende jare 'n paar DNS -ontledings gedoen namate die vordering in die veld toegeneem het. Sommige van die bewyse het tussen hul lêers verlore gegaan. [73] Die wagte en getuies in die straat beskryf die een dief as ongeveer 1,75 m tot 1,78 m in sy laat 30's met 'n medium bouvorm, en die ander as 6 voet 0 duim (7 voet 0 duim) 1,83 m) tot 1,85 m in sy vroeë 30's met 'n swaarder bouvorm. [13] [74]

Rick Abath Redigeer

Die veiligheidswag, Rick Abath, is vroeg ondersoek weens sy verdagte gedrag die aand van die diefstal. [26] [24] Toe Abath op sy patrollie was, het hy kortliks 'n sydeur oopgemaak en toegemaak, [16] 'n beweging wat volgens sommige 'n teken was vir die diewe wat buite geparkeer was. [75] Abath het aan die owerhede gesê dat hy dit gereeld gedoen het om te verseker dat die deur gesluit is. [75] Een van Abath se kollegas het aan joernaliste gesê dat as Abath die deur gereeld oopgemaak het soos hy volgehou het, sou toesighouers dit op rekenaarafdrukke gesien het en dit stopgesit het. [76] Daar is meer vermoede by die bewegingsdetektore van die museum, wat geen beweging in die Blue Room (wat By Tortoni) gedurende die 81 minute was die diewe in die museum. Die enigste voetstappe in die kamer die aand was Abath s'n tydens sy sekuriteitspatrollie. [26] 'n Sekuriteitskonsultant het die bewegingsdetektor toerusting 'n paar weke na die diefstal nagegaan en vasgestel dat dit korrek werk. [26] Abath handhaaf sy onskuld, [77] en die FBI -agent wat in sy vroeë jare toesig gehou het oor die saak, het vasgestel dat die wagte te onbevoeg en dwaas was om die misdaad uit die weg te ruim. [24]

In 2015 het die FBI die aand voor die diefstal 'n veiligheidsvideo van die museum uitgereik waarin Abath 'n ongeïdentifiseerde man in die museum sien inkom om by die sekuriteitsbank te gesels. Abath het aan die ondersoekers gesê dat hy nie die voorval kan onthou of die man kan herken nie, en daarom het die FBI die publiek se hulp versoek. Verskeie voormalige museumwagte het na vore gekom en gesê die vreemdeling is Abath se baas, die sekuriteitshoof van die museum. [78]

Whitey Bulger Edit

Whitey Bulger was een van die magtigste misdaadbase in Boston gedurende die era, aan die hoof van die Winter Hill -bende. [79] Hy beweer dat hy nie die rooftog georganiseer het nie, en het eintlik sy agente uitgestuur in 'n poging om vas te stel wie dit gedoen het omdat die rooftog op sy "gras" gepleeg is en hy wou hulde gebring word. [80]

FBI -agent Thomas McShane het Bulger ondersoek vir sy betrokkenheid. [79] Hy het vasgestel dat Bulger se sterk bande met die Boston -polisie kan verduidelik hoe die diewe wettige polisie -uniforms bekom het, of dat die werklike polisie gereël is om die aanval te doen. [79] Bulger het ook betrekkinge met die Ierse Republikeinse Weermag (IRA) gehad. [79] McShane het 'n 'telefoonkaart' van die IRA en die mededinger Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) geïdentifiseer dat die brandalarm van die brandalarm gestruikel het. [79] Beide organisasies het destyds agente in Boston gehad, en albei het in die verlede die vermoë getoon om kunsrooftogte uit die weg te ruim. [79] McShane se ondersoek na Bulger en die IRA het geen bewyse gelewer om hulle aan diefstal vas te bind nie. [81] Volgens Charley Hill, 'n afgetrede kuns- en oudheidsondersoeker vir Scotland Yard, het Bulger die Gardner -werke aan die IRA gegee en is dit heel waarskynlik in Ierland. [82]

1994 brief aan die museum Edit

In 1994 het museumdirekteur Anne Hawley 'n anonieme brief ontvang van iemand wat beweer het dat hy probeer om 'n terugvoering van die kunswerk te onderhandel. [83] Die skrywer het verduidelik dat hulle 'n derdeparty-onderhandelaar was en nie die identiteit van die diewe ken nie. [84] Hulle het verduidelik dat die kunswerke gesteel is om 'n gevangenisstraf te verminder, maar namate die geleentheid verby was, was daar nie meer 'n motief om die kunswerk te behou nie en wou hulle 'n terugkeer onderhandel. [85] Die skrywer verduidelik dat die kunswerk onder 'n klimaatbeheerde toestand in 'n 'nie-gemeenregtelike land' gehou word. [86] [84] Hulle wou immuniteit vir hulself en alle ander betrokkenes hê, en $ 2,6 miljoen vir die terugkeer van die kunswerke, wat na 'n buitelandse bankrekening gestuur sou word terwyl die kuns oorhandig word. [84] As die museum belangstel om te onderhandel, moet hulle 'n gekodeerde boodskap in druk Die Boston Globe. [87] Om geloofwaardigheid te vestig, het die skrywer inligting oorgedra wat slegs destyds deur die museum en FBI bekend was. [83]

Hawley het gevoel dat dit 'n sterk voorsprong was. [88] Sy het die FBI gekontak, wat toe met die Wêreld en die gekodeerde boodskap is in die uitgawe van 1 Mei 1994 gedruk Die Boston Globe. [89] Hawley het 'n paar dae later 'n tweede brief ontvang waarin die skrywer erken dat die museum belangstel om te onderhandel, maar bang geword het vir wat hulle beskou as 'n massiewe ondersoek deur federale en staatsowerhede om hul identiteit te bepaal. [90] Die skrywer het verduidelik dat hulle tyd nodig het om hul opsies te evalueer, maar Hawley het nooit weer van die skrywer gehoor nie. [91]

Brian McDevitt Edit

Brian McDevitt was 'n bedrieër uit Boston wat in 1981 die The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, New York, probeer beroof het. [92] Hy het hom as 'n FedEx -bestuurder aangetrek, boeie en kleefband gedra en beplan om 'n Rembrandt te steel. [92] Hy was ook 'n bekende vlagliefhebber en pas by die beskrywing van die groter rower behalwe vir sy dun rooi hare. [93] Hierdie parallelle met die Gardner -saak het die FBI gefassineer, sodat hulle hom laat in 1990 ondervra het. [92] McDevitt ontken enige betrokkenheid en weier om 'n poligraaftoets af te lê. [92] [93] Die FBI het sy vingerafdrukke gemaak wat nie by enige van die op die misdaadtoneel pas nie. [92] McDevitt verhuis daarna na Kalifornië en sit sy weg in televisie- en filmskryf. [92] [93] Hy is dood in 2004. [92]

Merlino bende Edit

Die FBI kondig aansienlike vordering aan in hul ondersoek in Maart 2013. Hulle het "met 'n groot mate van vertroue" berig dat hulle die diewe geïdentifiseer het, wat volgens hulle lede was van 'n kriminele organisasie in die middel van die Atlantiese Oseaan en New England. Hulle het ook "met dieselfde vertroue" gevoel dat die kunswerke in die jare na die diefstal na Connecticut en Philadelphia vervoer is, met 'n poging tot verkoop in Philadelphia in 2002. Hulle kennis van wat daarna gebeur het, is beperk, en hulle het die publiek se hulp versoek om die kunswerk op te spoor en terug te gee. [94] [68] In 2015 het die FBI verklaar dat beide diewe dood is. [95] Alhoewel die FBI geen individue in die openbaar geïdentifiseer het nie, het bronne wat vertroud was met die ondersoek gesê dat hulle verband hou met 'n bende van Dorchester. [94] Die bende was lojaal aan die baas van die Boston Mafia, Frank Salemme, en het hul bedrywighede uit 'n motorherstelwinkel wat deur die kriminele Carmello Merlino bestuur is, bestuur. [96] [97] [98]

Merlino se medewerkers het moontlik kennis opgedoen van die swakhede van die museum nadat die gangster Louis Royce dit al in 1981 gemaak het. [99] [100] Hy het planne beraam met 'n medewerker om rookbomme aan te steek en te midde van die verwarring die galerye op te jaag. [101] [102] In 1982, when undercover FBI agents were investigating Royce and his associates for an unrelated art theft, they learned of their interest in robbing the Gardner Museum and warned the museum of the gang's plan. [103] [104] Royce was in prison at the time of the robbery. [105] Royce shared his plan with others and believes associate Stephen Rossetti may have ordered the robbery or shared it with someone else. [106] [107]

Robert Guarente and Robert Gentile Edit

Among those associated with the Merlino gang were Robert Guarente and Manchester, Connecticut, gangster Robert Gentile. [108] [109] [110] Guarente died from cancer in 2004, [111] but his widow Elene told the FBI in 2010 that her husband had previously owned some of the paintings. [110] She claimed that when her husband got sick with cancer in the early 2000s, he gave the paintings to Gentile for safekeeping. [108] [112] Gentile denied the accusations, [112] claiming he was never given them and knew nothing of their whereabouts. [113] Federal authorities indicted Gentile on drug charges in 2012, likely in an attempt to pressure Gentile for information about the Gardner works. [114] He submitted to a polygraph test which indicated he was lying when he denied any knowledge of the theft or location of the artwork. [115] Gentile maintained he was telling the truth and demanded a retest. During the retest he said Elene had once shown him the missing Rembrandt self-portrait, to which the polygraph machine indicated he was telling the truth. [116] Gentile's lawyer felt that the veracity of Gentile's claims were being affected by the large presence of federal agents, and requested a smaller meeting in hopes that it would get Gentile to speak honestly. [116] In the more intimate meeting, Gentile maintained that he did not have any information. [117]

A few days later, the FBI stormed Gentile's house in Manchester with a search warrant. [118] The FBI found a secret ditch beneath a false floor in the backyard shed, but found it empty. [119] Gentile's son explained that the ditch flooded a few years prior and his father was upset about whatever was stored there. [120] In the basement, they found a copy of the Boston Herald from March 1990 reporting the theft along with a piece of paper indicating what each piece might sell for on the black market. [118] Beyond this, no conclusive evidence was found to indicate he ever had the paintings. [ aanhaling nodig ] Gentile went to prison for 30 months on drug charges. If he knew information about the theft, at no point did he opt to share it, which would have reduced his sentence or freed him from prison. [ aanhaling nodig ] After getting out of prison, he spoke with investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian, claiming he was framed by the FBI. He explained how the imprisonment negatively impacted his finances and personal life. [121] He also explained that the list found in his basement was written up by a criminal trying to broker return of the works from Guarente and was talking to Gentile as an intermediary. [122] When asked about what could have been in the ditch, Gentile could not recall but believed it could have been small motors. [120]

David Turner Edit

David Turner was another associate of Merlino. [123] [124] [98] The FBI began investigating him in 1992 when a source told them Turner had access to the paintings. [125] That same year, Merlino was arrested for cocaine trafficking, and told authorities that he could return the paintings for a reduced prison sentence. [126] He asked Turner to track down the paintings, to which Turner was unsuccessful though he heard they were in a church in South Boston. [127] [128] Another associate arrested in the drug sting told authorities about Turner's involvement in several break-ins, but never mentioned the Gardner heist. [128] Based on conversations with Merlino after his release from prison in the mid 1990s, authorities gathered that he [ who? ] never had direct access to the paintings but possibly could broker for their return. [129]

Despite his claims of innocence, the FBI believes he may have been one of the thieves. [130] [131] Evidence indicates that he went to Florida to pick up a cocaine order just days before the heist, [132] and credit card records suggest he remained there through the night of the robbery, [133] [134] but some investigators believe this may have been Turner's attempt at creating an alibi. [ aanhaling nodig ] The FBI thinks the other thief was his friend and Merlino associate George Reissfelder. [131] [135] He died in July 1991. [136] No clues were found in his apartment or the homes of friends and relatives, [131] [136] but his siblings recall a painting similar to Chez Tortoni in his bedroom. [131] Investigators believe he looks similar to the slimmer man in the police sketches. [137]

In 1999, the FBI arrested Turner, Merlino, Rossetti, and others in a sting operation the day they planned to rob a Loomis Fargo vault. [138] [98] When the FBI brought Turner in for questioning, they told him they had information that he participated in the Gardner robbery, and that if he returned the paintings, they would let him go. [139] He told the authorities he did not know who stole the paintings nor where they could be hidden. [140] In his 2001 trial, he claimed entrapment, that the FBI let the Loomis Fargo plot proceed so they could pressure him for information about the Gardner paintings. [140] The jury found him guilty and he was sent to prison. [139] Turner knew Gentile through Guarente, and in 2010, wrote a letter to Gentile asking if he could call Turner's former girlfriend to assist in recovering the Gardner paintings. [141] In cooperation with the FBI, Gentile spoke with Turner's girlfriend, and she told him that Turner wanted him to speak with two of his ex-convict friends in Boston. [142] The FBI wanted Gentile to meet the men and send an FBI undercover agent with him, but Gentile did not want to cooperate further. [142] Turner was freed in November 2019, one month after Stephen Rossetti. [143] Merlino died in prison in 2005. [143]

Bobby Donati Edit

Criminal Bobby Donati was murdered in 1991 in the midst of a gang war within the Patriarca crime family. [144] [145] His involvement in the Gardner theft was suspected after notorious New England art thief Myles J. Connor Jr. spoke with authorities. [146] [147] Connor was in jail at the time of the heist, [148] but he believed Donati and criminal David Houghton were the masterminds. [148] Connor had worked with Donati in past art heists, [149] and claimed the two cased the Gardner Museum [148] [150] where Donati took interest in the finial. [148] Connor also claimed that Houghton visited him in jail after the heist and said that he and Donati organized it and were going to use the paintings to get Connor out of jail. [149] If this is true, they likely borrowed the idea from Connor as he returned art to reduce sentences in the past. [150] Even though Donati's and Houghton's appearances did not fit the witness descriptions, Connor suggested they probably hired lower-level gangsters to carry out the robbery. [148] Like Donati, Houghton also died within two years of the robbery, though from an illness rather than murder. [148] Connor told investigators he could assist in returning the Gardner works in exchange for the museum's posted reward and his freedom. [148] When investigators did not give into Connor's demands because of lack of evidence, he suggested they speak with criminal and antiques dealer William P. Youngworth. [148]

Acting on Connor's lead, the FBI opened a case on Youngworth and conducted raids on his home and antique store properties in the 1990s. [151] [146] [152] The raids caught the attention of journalist Tom Mashberg, who began talking with Youngworth in 1997 about the theft. [151] [146] One night in August 1997, Youngworth called Mashberg and told him he had proof he could return the Gardner paintings under the right conditions. [153] That night, Youngworth picked up Mashberg from the Boston Herald offices and drove him to a warehouse in Red Hook, Brooklyn. [153] [154] Youngworth led him inside to a storage unit with several large cylinder tubes. He removed one painting from its tube, unfurled it, and showed it to Mashberg under flashlight. It appeared to Mashberg to be The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. He noticed cracking along the canvas and the edges were cut in a manner consistent with the museum's reports, [155] as well as Rembrandt's signature on the ship's rudder. [156] Mashberg wrote about his experience in the Boston Herald, leaving out details to hide Youngworth's identity and the painting's location. [157] He reported that his "informant" (presumably Youngworth) told him the robbery was pulled off by five men and identified two: Donati was one of the robbers, and Houghton was responsible with moving the art to a safe house. [158] The FBI discovered the location of the warehouse several months later and raided it, finding nothing. [159]

The veracity of Youngworth's claims and the authenticity of the painting shown to Mashberg is disputed. [160] Youngworth supplied paint chips to Mashberg, and federal authorities reported that they were indeed from Rembrandt's era, but did not match oils used for The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. [160] The way Mashberg described the painting as being "unfurled" has also been scrutinized, as the stolen painting was covered with a heavy varnish that would not roll easily. [160] Federal authorities and the museum began working with Youngworth after Mashberg's story was published, but Youngworth made negotiations difficult. [159] He would not work with authorities unless his demands could be met, which included full immunity and Connor's release from jail. [159] [161] [162] The authorities were skeptical of Youngworth's veracity, and only offered partial immunity. [162] The United States attorney overseeing the case eventually ceased talks with Youngworth unless he could provide more reliable evidence that he had access to the Gardner works. [159] Youngworth again provided a vial of paint chips, purportedly from The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and 25 color photographs of the painting and A Lady and Gentleman in Black. [163] A joint statement from the museum and federal investigators announced that the chips were not from the stolen Rembrandts, though they did test as being from 17th century paintings and could potentially be from The Concert. [164]

In 2014, investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian wrote to gangster Vincent Ferrara, Donati's superior during the gang war, inquiring if he had information about the Gardner theft. [165] [166] He received a call back from an associate of Ferrara who explained the FBI was wrong in suspecting the Merlino gang's involvement and claimed that Donati organized the robbery. [165] The caller explained that Donati visited Ferrara in jail about three months before the theft, after the latter was charged for murder, [167] and told Ferrara that he was going to do something to get him out of jail. [168] Three months later, Ferrara heard news about the Gardner theft, [168] after which Donati visited him again and confirmed to Ferrara that he was involved in the robbery. [169] He claimed to have buried the artwork and would start a negotiation for his release once the investigation cooled down. [144] The negotiations never occurred because Donati was murdered. [144] Kurkjian believes Donati was motivated to free Ferrara from prison because Ferrara could protect him in the gang war. [166] A friend of Guarente also corroborated that Donati organized the robbery, and that Donati gave paintings to Guarente when he became concerned for his own safety. [170] Donati was close friends with Guarente. [171] The two were seen at a social club in Revere shortly before the robbery with a bag of police uniforms. [171]

Fictional accounts of the robbery and what occurred to the paintings were explored on television shows Blindspot, The Blacklist, The Venture Bros., Shameless en Die Simpsons, [172] [173] as well as the novels The Art Forger (2012) by B.A. Shapiro, Artful Deception (2012) by James J. McGovern, [174] [175] The Hidden Things (2019) by Jamie Mason, [176] and The Mob Zone (2020) by Joseph DeMatteo.

In October 2020, BBC Four released a documentary about searching for the art titled The Billion Dollar Art Hunt. [177] In April 2021, Netflix released an original four-part documentary series about the theft, This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist. [178]


FBI: We know who carried out greatest art heist in American history

From stolen Rembrandt paintings to drawings by Degas and Picasso, the world's most famous artwork has been victim to theft throughout history. While the vast majority of works have been recovered and returned to their proper owners, thousands of valuable items remain missing in action. Here are some of the most notorious examples.

The FBI knows who pulled off the biggest art heist in history, but they aren't naming names. And as for what become of the $580 million worth of masterpieces stolen exactly 23 years ago from a Boston museum, investigators say that trail went cold a decade ago.

The FBI said Monday it would be "imprudent" to disclose the identities of the thieves who stole 13 works of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, but said they belong to a criminal organization, and they said they believe the art work has "changed hands several times" over the years.

"The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft," Special Agent Richard DesLauriers said during a press conference.

"With that same confidence we have identified the thieves who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England," he said.

After the attempted sale in Philadelphia, which authorities claim took place about a decade ago, the investigators' knowledge of the art's whereabouts is limited.

Just after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men dressed as police officers buzzed the side door at the Boston museum and claimed they were there to investigate a disturbance.

A little more than an hour later, the men left with what is said to be the most valuable collection of stolen artwork in history: $580 million worth of famous works, including Rembrandt's only seascape, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," and Vermeer's "The Concert," a masterpiece valued at more than $200 million.

The FBI on Monday pleaded with the public for any information leading to the whereabouts of the famed works, which they said could be hanging over a mantel somewhere or hidden in an attic.

Investigators over the years have followed leads from Nevada to France, but the priceless items snatched from the museum have never been recovered.

The two men who broke into the museum -- hours after Boston celebrated St. Patrick's Day -- had "inside knowledge" of the museum's surveillance system, FBI Special Agent Geoff Kelly previously told FoxNews.com.

The suspects, described as white men in their 30s, were disguised as Boston police officers when they approached the museum door. The pair convinced two inexperienced security guards that they were responding to a call, before overtaking the guards and tying them up.

They spent 81 minutes inside the museum, walking the dark hallways before making their way to the Dutch Room, where the most valuable works were found.

The pair smashed glass and used box cutters to remove the masterpieces from their frames. In all, 13 priceless items were taken: three paintings by Rembrandt including, "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," five drawings by Degas, and Vermeer's "The Concert" -- said to be the most valuable stolen painting in the world. The thieves also snatched an ancient Chinese bronze beaker or "Ku" from the Shang Dynasty and a finial that once stood atop a flag from Napoleon's Army.

But the method by which the pair seized the works led police to believe they were inexperienced art thieves.

"They were clever in how they got into the museum," Kelly said, "but the working profile points to inexperienced art thieves."

"How they went about removing the paintings – slicing them from their frames – that's indicative of a rank amateur when it comes to art theft," Kelly said. "Anyone who knows anything about art, when you’re taking an old Dutch master, slicing out of the frame will damage the painting."

The pair also made sure to cover their tracks. They took the museum's surveillance tape with them. They also took a printout from a computer that showed -- based on motion detectors -- where they had walked in the museum. That information, however, was already captured on the computer's hard drive, confirming to authorities where in the museum the thieves had been and how long they had stayed.

"They had a comfort level that really would establish they had some type of knowledge about how the security protocols were conducted at the museum," said Kelly.

Kelly said it's highly probable the thieves had no idea the magnitude of their crime until they woke up the next morning and realized they had committed the "heist of the century." He said it's possible they planned to "wait until the heat dies down" before attempting to sell the works. But it never did.


$500 Million Worth Of Art Went Missing 25 Years Ago, And We Still Don't Know Where It Is

On the morning of March 18, 1990, a 23-year-old security guard named Richard Abath was keeping watch over Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum . Around 1 a.m. that day, he made what looked like an innocent yet serious error, allowing two thieves posing as policemen to enter the premises and subsequently steal 13 artworks worth $500 million, including works by Vermeer, Degas and Rembrandt.

It was the largest museum heist in American history.

When the real Boston police eventually showed up, they found Abath and a fellow guard bound and blindfolded in the museum’s basement. After cooperating with the police investigations and agreeing to two lie detector tests, the young man was deemed blameless in his mistake. Now, at 49, he works as a teacher’s aide in Brattleboro, Vermont.

However, a recently released surveillance tape from March 17, 1990, the day before the heist, is raising some doubt regarding Abath’s innocence. The grainy, six-minute tape captures Abath letting an unknown man into the museum, through the very entrance the thieves allegedly used the next day.

In a statement released with the video, officials with the United States Attorney’s office in Massachusetts did not identify Mr. Abath, nor did they outwardly suggest the video tape in some way implicates his involvement. However, in all of his interviews with police Abath never mentioned this March 17 visitor, and allowing him in was, according to the statement, “against museum policy.”

“ It’s very troubling, “Anthony M. Amore, current director of security at the museum told The New York Times. “This video raises more questions than it answers.”

The video was released 25 years after the heist in the hopes it could somehow help identify the unwarranted museum visitor. Authorities have apparently had the tape since the beginning of the investigation, though they may not have viewed it before 2013, w hen the case was assigned to a new prosecutor.

It remains unclear whether Abath will be investigated again. The motivation behind the video’s release is all the more unclear considering the FBI’s belief that the two men long suspected of executing the heist are now dead.

Nonetheless, quite a lot of art remains on the loose. And for anyone who knows anything, the prize is tempting. The museum is offering a cool $5 million reward for any information that leads to the return of the works in good condition.

Two years ago, the FBI and art recovery experts were optimistic about the works’ healthy return. “A quarter of a century is not that unusual for stolen paintings to be returned,” Christopher Marinello, general counsel for The Art Loss Register, told the Associated Press. “Eventually they will resurface. Somebody will rat somebody else out. It’s really only a matter of time.”

“I was just this hippie guy who was not hurting anything, was not on anybody’s radar,” Abath, a Berklee College of Music dropout who often showed up stoned to shifts at the museum, said in an interview with NPR earlier this year. “And the next day, I was on everybody’s radar for the largest art heist in history. “

If he’s guilty, one thing is for sure it will not be long before Jesse Eisenberg will be playing Abath in the Hollywood retelling in a theater near you.


The Story of the Biggest Art Heist in History

On March 18th, 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers rang the bell of the staff entrance at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and told the security guards on duty that they were investigating a disturbance. They were then let into the building. Once there they restrained and blindfolded the 2 guards and put them in the basement. The art thieves then began to ransack the building, taking only the paintings which would bring them the highest amount of cash. It would later come to light that this was actually the largest known art heist in history.

The Artworks in Question

The works that were stolen ranged in age from the 1200 BC to 1888 AD, including 3 works by Rembrandt van Rijn, one from one from Johannes Vermeer, one painting from Édouard Manet, several sketches by Edgar Degas, and a carved Chinese beaker of ancient origin.

For reference, the Mona Lisa (arguably one of the most well-known paintings in the entire world) is worth today bout $100M. And indeed she was stolen, but was recovered 2 years later. However, the 13 works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are worth quite a bit more than that. The combined rewardfor these stolen works of art totals $10M, but their value on the art market is another story entirely.

The combined value of the paintings, drawings, and artifacts that were stolen in 1990 is actually an astronomical sum today. The last a Vermeer painting came up for auction was in 2004, when it sold from Sotheby’s for a the equivalent of more than $30M. It’s hard to imagine what a Vermeer would sell for today- probably a lot more than it did 15 years ago.

A recent Rembrandt sold for over $33M, and in 2014 a Manet sold for over $65M. The works could even be worth more at this point simply because of the theft. The Concert by Vermeer is estimated to be worth about $200M on its own. The drawings, the beaker, and all the paintings represent a broad cross section of world and are currently estimated to be worth around $500M total.

The Repercussions

The museum keeps the empty frames displayed where the stolen works would be hung today had they not been taken. Below are two of Rembrandt’s frames seen totally empty hanging among the other works of the collection. There have never been any conclusive leads in this case.

So what happened to these pieces? Well, that is a long and speculative story. The last person of interest in this case is Robert Gentile, a man who was just released from prison in March 2019 after serving time for an unrelated weapons charge. Gentile was thought to have been involved with the mob, and the selling of the stolen artwork and is now 82-years-old. At this point in time there is no hard evidence linking him to the art heist.

Another name associated with the stolen objects has been James “Whitey” Bulger, who was murdered in prison in 2018. Bulger was a known mobster who had fed the FBI crucial information on organized crime before going on the run in 1996 and eventually being sentenced to 2 consecutive life sentences for 11 murders. One theory now is that Bulger had offered the works to the IRA to sell on the black market to fund their activities. If this is true then they have some connection to Ireland, even if they have since been scattered to the wind. But, without more evidence and with no trace of the objects themselves, this would be nearly impossible to prove.

This is considered an ongoing investigation even to this day. Any information on this crime from 30 years might help officials to find where the 13 paintings and artifacts are now. You can have a closer look at this monumental art crime and what it means for the museum today in the video below.


An Easy Target

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy American art collector who founded her namesake museum in 1903 with the hope of letting the public enjoy her collection. However, after she died in 1924, the museum started facing financial troubles. By 1990, it was common knowledge among Boston’s criminal elite that the museum’s security was largely flawed and outdated. This made it the perfect candidate for a heist.

When the two thieves showed up posing as cops, they pretended to be responding to a disturbance call in connection to the Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations, thus tricking the guards to let them in. Once inside, they said they had an arrest warrant for one of the guards and asked him to step away from the security desk. Since the only panic button was installed on it, there was no way for the guards to signal authorities that something was awry.

Two police uniforms and a bit of acting was all it took to infiltrate a museum that houses more than 15,000 pieces of art.


In 1991 yet another globally famous painting went missing when thieves broke into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and absconded with some 20 paintings, including Sunflowers, a painting that had sold for a then-record $40 million just four years earlier. The thieves, apparently deciding that they couldn’t hope to fetch such a price, abandoned it and the rest of their haul in their getaway car, which was discovered by police just hours later.


The Greatest Unsolved Art Heist In History

At LEAST once a week, we get a frantic text from Catherine Lane. She is the ULTIMATE binge-watcher and she’s constantly running out of things to watch. I’ve even suggested things I’ve just read reviews of-not seen, cuz I just don’t know.

Next time we get a message from her, THIS is gonna be a suggestion for sure.

This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist | Documentary Trailer | Netflix

500 million dollars worth of missing art. A 10 million dollar reward for whoever finds it. It's your turn to enter the mystery. 30 years ago, two thieves br.

One of my favorite all-time movies is the remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair,” with Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo about a sophisticated art thief.

“This is a Robbery” is a four-part Netflix original documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the world’s biggest art theft that until this trailer, I knew NOTHING about. 31 years ago, 13 works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In the early hours of the morning of March 18, 1990, security guards admitted two men posing as Boston cops responding to a “disturbance call.” The guards were tied up and museum looted over the next hour.

It’s been 30 years. There’s a $10 million reward w/immunity on the table, yet NO ONE has ever come forward with any information as to the whereabouts of some of these priceless works of art.


The Biggest ART Heist in US History – NEVER SOLVED

Shortly after midnight on the morning of March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. After explaining that they were responding to a call about a disturbance in the courtyard, one of the on-duty security guards buzzed them in. The second security guard came on the scene shortly there after.

The thieves successfully duped the security guards long enough to get them handcuffed, then gagged the two men and moved them to the museum basement.

The thieves then proceeded to steel thirteen works of art during the next 81 minutes. They pulled Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (1629) off the wall and tried unsuccessfully to take the wooden panel out of the heavy frame and thus left it on the floor. Next, they cut or removed several paintings from their frames including:

Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633) (image below),

A Lady and Gentleman in Black (1633) (image below),

Vermeer’s The Concert (1658-60) (image below),

and Govaert Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk (1638) (image below).

Also stolen was a Rembrandt etching, five Degas drawings, an oil by Édouard Manet, and one by Chez Tortoni (1878-80), plus two objects: a Chinese Ku, or bronze beaker (1200-1100 B.C), and a finial from a Napoleonic flag. To get to the finial, they passed up two Raphaels and a Botticelli. The thieves had to make two trips to their car with the loot.

Geoffrey J. Kelly, the FBI agent assigned to the Gardner case for the past eight years, comments, “It’s difficult to understand why the thieves took what they did, an eclectic collection. They were certainly in the museum long enough to take whatever they wanted.”

More than 19 years after the largest art theft in history, the works are now valued at between $500 million and $600 million. No one has been arrested, there have been no demands for ransom, and none of the works have been recovered, despite the museums ongoing offer of a $5 million reward and complete confidentiality for information leading to their return. The FBI says only 5 percent of stolen art is ever returned. Others believe the figure to be as high as 20 percent. The Gardner’s Dutch Room still displays empty frames where Rembrandt’s A Lady and Gentleman in Black and The Storm on the Sea of Galilee once hung.

The thefts are a subject of a 2005 documentary called “Stolen.” Arguably the best and most complete story of the theft and its investigation is a book by journalist Ulrich Boser called “The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art,” published by Harper Collins. The book boasts of being able to reveal the identities of the thieves, though the author’s findings have not been considered conclusive.


Has the biggest art heist in US history been solved?

FBI says they’ve ID’d infamous thieves who stole half a BILLION dollars of art from Boston’s Gardner Museum…

The FBI believes it knows the identities of the thieves who stole art valued at up to $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 they announced today in a stunning new development in the greatest art heist in modern history.

Richard DesLauriers, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Boston, said the thieves belong to a criminal organization based in New England, though did not offer any names.

He added that authorities believe the art was taken to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region in the years after the theft, and offered for sale in Philadelphia about a decade ago.

During the infamous heist, rare works from masters such as Rembrant, Degas, and Vermeer were stolen, sometimes cut from their frames.

During the 1990 robbery, thieves disguised as police officers struck as Boston finished celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, binding two guards, before stealing masterworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet.

While the FBI has had several promising leads in the 23 years following the heist, no one was ever charged with stealing the works.

According to an FBI release sent out today, investigators believe that the original thieves transported the stolen art to parts of Connecticut and Philadelphia.

‘Some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft,’ DesLauriers said in a statement.

‘With that same confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England.’

The FBI said that following an attempted sale of one of the works more than a decade ago, they could only piece together small bits of information on the whereabouts of the masterpieces – and the thieves.

Because of the high-profile nature of the case, the government agency released as much information about the heist as they could, in hopes that someone would flag a suspicious art purchase.

They also continue to highlight the $5 million, no-questions-asked reward.

Anthony Amore, who is the Gardner museum’s chief of security, said that anyone could claim the reward, even if they did not have the paintings. ‘We hope that through this media campaign, people will see how earnest we are in our attempts to pay this reward and make our institution whole,’ he said in a statement.

When the thieves, disguised as two security officers, sneaked into the Boston institution, they cut some of the works of art right out of the frames.
The empty frames continue to be hung in the museum as a constant physical reminder of the heist and the missing masterpieces.

The thieves, once publically identified, will be prosecuted by a special FBI department, the Art Crime Team, which is comprised of 14 special agents.

The team of agents, along with trial lawyers, investigates art theft, fraud, and lootings in both national and international scope.

Image above: Chez Tortoni, painted by Manet, shows a man wearing a top hat at a jaunty angle it was one of the last paintings to be stolen from the museum.