Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Theft

81 Minutes to One of the Great Art Heists - Unsolved Mysteries of the World

It’s March 18, 1990 in the City of Boston. The day after St. Patrick’s Day. A beautiful day weather wise lays ahead. At one twenty in the morning, two men dressed in police uniforms arrived at the entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, responding to a disturbance call. The only problem was they were the disturbance, and they weren’t police officers. They were there to commit one of the largest art heist in US history that remains unsolved to this day.

The culprits, dressed in police attire, ordered the guards to stand against the wall where they handcuffed them before they revealed their true intentions for being there. They lead the security guards to the basement where they wrapped duct tape around their heads, covering their eyes and secured them to assorted fixtures, ensuring they could not free themselves. The culprits then went floor by floor for eight one minutes, being picked up by motion detectors and not setting off any alarms.

Prior to their departure from the museum that night, they got what video footage was recorded of them outside of the building and printed out reports of the recording of the motion detectors as they wandered through the museum.

During that time, they removed 11 paintings from the walls and pulled the canvases from the frames. The paintings and other objects that they took were:

  • The Concert by Johannes Vermeer
  • A Lady and Gentleman in Black by Rembrandt
  • Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Rembrandt
  • Landscape with Obelisk by Govaert Flinck
  • Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet
  • (Five) Works on Paper by Edgar Degas
  • A Bronze Eagle Finial
  • An Ancient Chinese Gu

The art world currently value the paintings at approximately $500M. Though suspicion has fallen on some individuals since the crime took place, no charges have been laid, the statute of limitations to bring charges has expired and none of the paintings have been recovered.

To this day, the empty picture frames still hang on the walls, waiting for their previous occupants to return.

I can’t help think Cache Iron with her art history background wouldn’t be all over this case and art will definitely play a major theme in the book Iron Cross which I am hoping will see the light of day in late 2023.

Which brings me to this question, where do you think the stolen art is today?


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