With suspects in landmark Boston art heist dead, FBI focused on finding

The suspects in the notorious Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist are dead, theAssociated Press is reporting.


It was half past midnight on St. Patrick’s Day 1990 when the headlights of a small vehicle pierced the darkness outside the rear entrance of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, according to a grainy black-and-white video released Thursday by investigators of one of the greatest art heists in history. They refused to elaborate, saying only that the investigation was now focused on recovering the missing artwork.

“This latest request for the public’s assistance illustrates the FBI’s continued commitment to the Gardner investigation”, said Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Boston.

He still wasn’t willing to identify the suspects.

The low-resolution video — captured by museum security cameras — shows a security guard appearing to hit an intercom button, then to grant access to a man who can be seen in the museum’s reception area at about 12:49 a.m. on March 17, 1990, nearly exactly 24 hours before the heist.

The combined value of the 13 works of art stolen during the theft is at least $500 million, though the pieces are considered priceless within the art community.

The theft occurred when two men dressed as police officers were admitted by security guards to the museum in the early morning hours of March 18, 1990.

In a statement released with the video, officials with the U.S. attorneys office in Massachusetts did not identify Abath.

The case was reopened in 2013, and a $5 million reward is being offered for any leads that result in the artwork being returned in good condition.

Among the stolen items was a painting called “The Concert” by Johannes Vermeer, one of only 34 known paintings by the Dutch artist.

“Every lead, every tip, everything that comes in we’re tracking down, no matter where it is in the area, in the country or overseas”, Kowenhoven said.

“With the public’s help, we may be able to develop new information that could lead to the recovery of these invaluable works of art”.

Officials say it shows Abath, while on guard duty the previous day, opening the same side doors entered by the thieves and admitting a man in a waist-length coat and upturned collar.

Two years ago, the FBI said it believed some of the artwork changed hands through organized crime circles and moved from Boston to Connecticut and Philadelphia, where the trail went cold.


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Let’s I.D. The Car From America’s Biggest Museum Heist