On March 18, 1990, two people stole 13 works from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum valued at over $500 million and got away with it. Until now, it seems, because the Boston Globe reports the FBI thinks they've found the criminals. The FBI are holding a press conference presently to announce a "investigative developments and a publicity campaign" to help locate the thieves and retrieve the paintings, much the same way they did to find Whitey Bulger. Nothing has been located just yet.
Recently, the Globe had a nice feature the security guard who opened the door for the thieves and subsequently has attracted suspicion he was in on the robbery.
The frames the stolen artwork were originally displayed in remain in the exact same place -- but empty -- all these years later.
Update 2:28 p.m.: OK, so this the FBI's big new website asking for any tips on locating the stolen paintings. The FBI announced today they're pretty sure they know where the paintings travelled in the few years after the heist. "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 Philly where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft. With that confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England," Richard Deslauriers, the special agent in charge of the Boston office of the FBI, said in a statement posted the site. Deslauriers does not disclose the name of the thieves, though.
Since the sale in Philadelphia, the FBI's lost track of the artwork and are hoping the public investigation will bring in some new ledes. "Unfortunately, we haven’t identified where they are right now and that’s why we are coming to the public for their help," Geoff Kelly, the case's chief investigator, told Boston.com.
In the meantime, the FBI are widening their search beyond the obvious areas like Connecticut and Philadelphia. They also hope the $5 million reward for information leading the art's retrieval will provide some incentive to loosen lips.
Update 2:34 p.m.: We've got some more details from the FBI's press conference. According to The New York Times' New England bureau chief Katharine Seelye, the FBI believes the art is still in the Philadelphia area. Also, along with the reward, any successful tipsters will be granted immunity from punishment should they bring relevant information forward. The FBI acknowledged the statute of limitations for stealing the artwork has run out, but promised to prosecute anyone found with the artwork for possessing stolen goods.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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