Gardner Heist at 33 years

BOSTON- — The Gardner Heist remains Boston’s last great unsolved mystery.

Early in the morning of March 18, 1990, two fake Boston police officers talked their way into the Gardner Museum, tied up two security guards in the museum’s basement, and helped themselves to 13 pieces of precious artwork.

In 2020, Gardner Security Chief Anthony Amore walked me through the museum and showed me how the thieves pulled it off.

“The frame was taken out and put on the floor, basically in front of where it hung. And one of the thieves went to work cutting it out with what I think was probably a box cutter, razor knife,” Amore explained.

The FBI believes a confederation of local mobsters pulled off the heist and later moved the artwork out of New England to Connecticut, ultimately offering it for sale in the Philadelphia area in 2002.

From there, the trail goes cold.

In a new statement, the FBI says, it is still looking.

“The FBI’s investigation into recovering the 13 pieces of stolen artwork is very active. We continue to pursue the case based on a well-defined investigative strategy. This includes gathering intelligence, sharing information, and working with our partners to identify any and all investigative angles that should be considered,” the statement said.

“This crime isn’t going to be solved by an armchair detective. It’s going to be solved by a person who feels it’s time to provide the missing link in this case,” Gardner Security Chief Anthony Amore told me in 2020.

In the meantime, inside the museum, the empty frames still hang on the wall.

And the mystery of the Gardner Heist, at 33 years, only deepens.

“It’s sad that someone took that and they still yet to retrieve it and don’t know who did it and why,” Mary Alice Gould told me after she visited the Gardner Museum.

“One of the first things I did as U.S. Attorney is make this an active investigation again,” said U.S. District Attorney Rachel Rollins. " We hope to be announcing shortly some renewed ways we can educate the public about these priceless 13 pieces of art.”

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is offering a $10,000,000 reward for information.

You can email the Gardner Museum at Reward@GardnerMuseum.org

Or call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI

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