On This Day — The Great Gardner Museum Heist (March 18 1990)

“I have spoken to former IRA members who say it was common knowledge these paintings were probably in hands of the organization.”

Arthur Brand — Dutch investigator and art adviser based in Amsterdam

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt (1633)

March 18 2021 — On March 18 1990, two men posing as police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 pieces, including three Rembrandts, among them his only seascape “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”, Vermeer’s “The Concert”, and works by Flinck, Manet, and Degas. Despite a $10 million reward and promises of immunity, none of the pieces has been recovered. Thirty years later, nobody has ever been charged with the crime. In 1990, the FBI estimated the value of the haul at $200 million. This estimate was raised to $500 million by 2000. Today, these pieces could be worth US $1 billion. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

RELATED POST: One Year Ago — The “Duménil Affair” Reveals Secret DGSE War Chest

RELATED POST: “Evidence”: The cultural differences between the FBI and the CIA

RELATED POST: On This Day — Whitey Bulger Sentenced to Two Terms of Life Imprisonment. (November 14, 2013) So, why the death sentence? [UPDATE: “Indiana Jones of art” Strikes Again]

“This [$10m] reward demonstrates the commitment of the museum and its board of trustees to the recovery of these important works. We are the only buyer for these works and they belong in their rightful home.”

Steve Kidder — President of the Gardner museum’s board (January 2018)

UPDATE (March 18 2020) — Whitey Bulger was transferred from the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City to United States Penitentiary, Hazelton, in West Virginia on October 29, 2018.

At 8:20 a.m. on October 30, the 89-year-old Bulger was found unresponsive in the prison.

Flashback — On November 14 2013, Whitey Bulger was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment, plus five years.

Obviously, two lifetimes will go by quickly if a FBI informant is dropped in a prison filled with dangerous criminals working for the mafia.

Whoever decided to transfer Bulger to the notoriously violent Hazelton facility knew that he would not survive very long.

So, why was he sentenced to death? Allow me to suggest two possibilities.

The first is related to the dark past of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The second involves the Isabella Stewart Gardner Heist.

Indeed, there is a possibility that Whitey Bulger offered the paintings to the IRA as ‘compensation’ for a shipment of weapons intercepted by the Irish navy a few years earlier.

However, after his arrest, Bulger did not volunteer information about the Gardner heist that might have brought a more lenient sentence and a more comfortable cell.

PS — The 2013 television drama The Blacklist starring James Spader [Raymond Reddington] about a career criminal who turns himself in to work with the FBI on his own terms was inspired by Bulger’s story.


“In This World There Are No Sides — Only Players.”

Raymond Reddington — The Blacklist

Arthur Brand, a Dutch investigator and art adviser based in Amsterdam, claims the art is in Ireland.

“The FBI have been in Ireland many times because they’ve had strong leads for the art being in hands of the Irish Republican Army, but some people think they’re still in America,” said Brand.

“Now they’re focusing on Robert Gentile, a mafia member who is 80 years old who was offered jail-free if he offered the paintings back.

Does the FBI really think he wouldn’t make a deal if he knew anything? Gentile said he didn’t know where the art is, but the FBI is still focusing on that man.”

“I have spoken to former IRA members who say it was common knowledge these paintings were probably in hands of the organization,” he said.

“One said, ‘I heard we had them.’”

“I am independent and I can make sure if someone comes forward, they remain anonymous, but nobody has come forward,” said Brand.

“It’s complicated. It’s a strange case.”

The Blacklist [S1:E6 — Gina Zanetakos (No. 152)]

“The blues. The blues look green and gray. The gaping maw of the ocean. It is mesmerizing. I don’t know why I’m doing this. This painting should be hanging in Boston.”

Raymond Reddington — The Blacklist

Loss of DNA Evidence

In 2010, the FBI announced that some evidence from the original crime scene had been sent to the FBI’s Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, for retesting with the hope of finding new DNA evidence to identify the culprits of the theft.

In June 2017, The Boston Globe reported that some of the crime scene evidence collected by the FBI was missing and that, even after an exhaustive search, they were unable to locate the handcuffs and duct tape that were used to immobilize the museum’s two security guards.

The handcuffs and duct tape could have contained traces of DNA material from the thieves. [Wikipedia]

The Thrilling Gardner Museum Heist — BuzzFeed


Will Boston’s $500m art heist ever be solved? — Guardian


On This Day — The Great Gardner Museum Heist (March 18 1990)

On This Day — The Great Gardner Museum Heist (March 18 1990) [2019]

30 Years Ago — The Great Gardner Museum Heist (March 18 1990)

On This Day — The Great Gardner Museum Heist (March 18 1990)

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