The last days of 2017 will they solve part of the puzzle of the Gardner Museum in Boston, and at the same time an informant to touch 10 million dollars?
In May, a reward was offered by the establishment to anyone who would give a lead to find several paintings of stolen masters in 1990. But the reward has a deadline: the end of 2017. A few more hours, therefore, during which it is still allowed to hope for an outcome.
On the night of March 18, 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was visited by two burglars, disguised as police officers. After allowing the individuals to enter, the two night guards were tied up and locked up. The criminals had left with 13 canvases. Among the stolen works, notably three Rembrandts (including Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee), a Vermeer, a Manet, and five Degas drawings and watercolors, bringing the total thieves’ booty to at least half a billion dollars.
The theft, carefully prepared, left very few clues to investigators. The latter were able to reconstruct the movements of the thugs in the museum using movement detectors. The two thieves took their time, as a Slate article relates, they would have stayed there for eighty-one minutes.
Several rewards – from $ 1 million at first, it increased to $ 5 million in 1997 – have already been offered in exchange for information likely to lead to loot, but always without success.
In March 2013, the FBI, after half a century of investigation, announced that it had identified the thieves, members of a criminal organization in the northeast of the United States. But the facts being prescribed since 1995, the suspects cannot be arrested or prosecuted, because they are apparently no longer in possession of the works.
In May, the museum, which does not despair, decides to increase the reward to 10 million dollars. This would be, according to the museum, the largest sum ever offered by a private actor.
In the rooms of the institution, the executives have not moved, they remained in place, empty of their cut canvases, satisfying the last wishes of Isabella Stewart Gardner, eponymous art collector of the establishment.
The institution is now much better known for this old-fashioned burglary than for its sumptuous palace, built by assembling remains bought in Italy, or its collection, still strong with beautiful pieces, such as a Titian, two Velázquez or a Rubens.
This deadline helps to give some momentum to a case which seems to be deadlocked, after thousands of hours of hearings and traveling to the four corners of the world on the basis of clues.
“The most accurate definition of the invaluable”
“The investigation has seen many twists and turns, promising leads and dead ends”, summarizes Kristen Setera, spokesperson for the Federal Police (FBI) in Boston. Theories have multiplied: henchmen of the Mafia, specialized thief, emissaries from the Vatican … sometimes eccentric leads.
Whatever it is, the holder today cannot enjoy it like an ordinary collector, according to the museum’s security officer. “You can’t hang it on the wall”, he said. These tables “Are the most accurate definition of priceless. They cannot be sold or be changed places. “
If a person discovered in possession of the stolen objects could still be prosecuted, the time has passed for punishment. The FBI has already indicated that it would be ready to grant immunity to the holder of a reliable lead. “We are no longer on lawsuits. Everything is focused on recovery “ works, assures Anthony Amore.