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FBI: We Know Who Robbed the Gardner Museum

Federal and museum officials updated the public with new developments in the half-billion-dollar robbery, one of the largest art heists in history.

BOSTON, MA -- FBI officials announced Monday they know who committed one of the biggest art heists in history, but they still need the public's help to locate the 13 missing pieces of art. 

“The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft,”  said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston FBI office. “With that same confidence we have identified the thieves who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England.” 

Officials believe the art was smuggled into Connecticut and eventually made its way into Philadelphia. At that point, the trail for the missing masterpieces goes cold. The FBI believes an organized-crime organization based in the mid-Atlantic states coordinated the crime.

Because the investigation is still ongoing, the FBI noted they could not release further details into the identities of the suspects. 

FBI officials also noted that the statute of limitations has passed on the original crime, the thefts of the paintings, but there is still potential criminal liability for concealing the paintings or possessing stolen property. However, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz noted that immunity is on the table for anyone who contributes information leading to the discovery of the paintings.

To help keep the public in the process, the bureau launched a new Gardner heist website. The site features sketches of the thieves, images of the lost art, background on the crime and information for anyone who want to contact the FBI with new information about the crime.

Monday was the 23rd anniversary of the heist, which took place in 1990. According to the Museum's own history of the theft, the robbers dressed as police officers and asked a security guard to let them in.

"Once inside, the thieves asked that the guard come around from behind the desk, claiming that they recognized him and that there was a warrant out for his arrest. The guard walked away from the desk and away from the only alarm button," wrote the museum on its website.

The thieves then had the guard, Richard Abath, call the second guard on duty and the two were separated and bound.

The thieves took 13 pieces of art, including works by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Govaert Flinck, Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet.

In recent months, however, the security guard, once thought a hapless victim, has come under closer scrutiny, according to The Boston Globe. Richard Abath was found bound by duct tape and handcuffs in the aftermath of the robbery.

"Why, they ask, were Abath’s footsteps the only ones picked up on motion detectors in a first floor gallery where one of the stolen paintings, by French impressionist Edouard Manet, was taken? And why did he open the side entrance to the museum minutes before the robbers rang the buzzer to get in? Was he signaling to them that he was prepared for the robbery to begin?" wrote Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian in a March 9 article.

Abath maintained his innocence to the Globe and in a manuscript he's written. He pointed to two separate lie detector tests as proof he was telling the truth in the case.

The Gardner theft was back in the news last year when a reputed Connecticut mobster's home was searched for weapons and the missing artwork. Federal officers used ground-penetrating radar to search for items in Richard Gentile's backyard, but came up empty.

The museum has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the return of the lost artwork. Several media outlets have placed the value of the lost art at $500 million.

Anyone with information about the artwork can call the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI (1-800-225-5324) or contact the museum directly.

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Jim Davidson March 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Why didn't someone call Banacek ? He could have solved this in a couple of days. Oh, that's right, George Peppard died. That's the only reason they got away with it !
David Joseph Manger March 18, 2013 at 10:09 PM
yea.That will happen!!lol
David Joseph Manger March 18, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Please explain your comment.
David Joseph Manger March 18, 2013 at 10:12 PM
never mind!Brain fart!
Jim Davidson March 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM
I would bet that was no " typo ".
E Cheung March 18, 2013 at 10:29 PM
And if the writer had ever bothered to take even an introductory course in Journalism. Unfortunately, on the internet, this is the rule, these days, rather than the exception. In case the clueless author(s) are bothering to read these comments, here are some questions just for you: Ever hear of the Who, What, Where, and When of a story? You have? Second question: Any idea where they "go"?
charlie ferro March 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM
he has been talking for the last 40 years
Peg March 18, 2013 at 10:51 PM
What's so hysterically funny?
Maggie May March 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Whitey plays his his Ace
Armando Gallo March 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM
This sound like the script of a denny Boyle new movie, Trance.
Durnell March 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM
They didn't put "statue" It says statute.
Norman Bouchal March 18, 2013 at 11:28 PM
" FBI officials announced today they know who committed one of the biggest art heists in history, but they still need the public's help to locate the 13 missing pieces of art." In other FBI news officials announced today they know who offed Jimmy Hoffa, but they still need the public's help to locate his body!
Johnny Connor March 18, 2013 at 11:33 PM
I taught I saw a puddy cat ......
Mich March 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Looks like some people will have to look a little closer at those photos on Facebook and Instagram!!!!
norm bean March 19, 2013 at 12:44 AM
this is child,s play ; you should see my "mona lisa" & my dozen; honus wagner t206 cards, i stole at a "in my dreams" convention !!!! lol //norm bean st louis mo
William Rogers, Ph.D. March 19, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Authorities are making things up again. They have never cared about 'justice'; they care about conviction rate - and bring this 23 year old unsolved crime up again way after the statute of limitations has run out is just a way to try to get back their psuedo swagger. Get a life guys.
Johnny C. Leatley March 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM
An article like this is all about squeezing people and trying to get more information by creating paranonia within the ranks of those supposedly involved. If they even really know who was involved in the crime, which is speculation in my view, they haven't managed to roll enough people to find the art or get people to testify against one another. Usually stories like this indicate a level of desperation.
Mark March 19, 2013 at 01:19 AM
It's a museum. There could have been a statue of limitations.
Mark March 19, 2013 at 01:20 AM
It's a museum. There could have been a statue of limitations.
MR CAR COLLECTOR! March 19, 2013 at 01:41 AM
One of my friends painted me the sea of galilee rembrandt in Oil on canvas. here is the like to my youtube.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70IQJvSTB3s I followed this case since the late 90's. My thought on it is that the people who took these paintings were pros..that had a list and were getting it for someone. There is no way this would stay a secret for this long. The fbi even said at one point you wouldn't get in trouble and keep the reward. The only person who last saw the paintings was an editor from the Boston globe who saw the paintings and was taken to the location blind folded. To me if the museum wants these paintings they will have to pay up or wait 100yrs and see them on antique roadshow or like this guy on longisland that found 30 million in vintage art works in a house he bought as an estate. ART is on the rise and a lot of rich people are investing in art and not in stocks...it was on 60 minutes. these paintings were worth $500 million in 1991. NOW IN 2013 THEY HAVE TO BE WORTH OVER $1 BILLION! even if they were damaged .
Santa Claus March 19, 2013 at 05:14 PM
He was a no good RAT... with a get away with murder card from our RETARDED FBI.
Santa Claus March 19, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Dary Matera March 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM
The Vermeer can be seen in the background of the "Monk" television show, episode titled "Mr. Monk Makes a Friend." Two different places in two different scenes. Somebody in Hollywood has it and was having fun with everybody.
David Joseph Manger March 19, 2013 at 06:43 PM
The hardest crime to solve is the one that never happened.This is so easy even Columbo can stay home.The paintings never left the museum until about six years ago.they were the janitors retirement plan.Let us just refer to it as someones' guarantee of a 401 k plan that is safe from Enron.They probably went out with the garbage from the kitchen and got snatched out of the dumpster at the end of the shift.Where better to hide them for all these years but in the store room of the very museum that reported this theft..Just how deep of an inside job this really was is any ones guess.Sell one to live good for a very long time until they least expect it.The biggest move the crook has to make is to place his toes in the sand just right so he does not spill his drink.That would not be all that bad either as the girls in small flower skirts will gladly bring him another Cold one!!What bucket list? He is living it along with his tight-lipped buddy's.
Dary Matera March 19, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Bitter `tude for a doc.
Dary Matera March 19, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I always thought it might be some rich kid with connections. Who else would want the finial (ornate top) of a flag pole instead of another $300 million painting that was left behind? And the Rembrandt sea storm in particular is a painting that would appeal to a child.
Santa Claus March 20, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I like to know who prices these paintings??? Nothing is worth nothing till it's sold!! To me, they look like paintings and nothing more. There are many unknown artists who paint better and more appealing pictures. They should get over the stolen junk!
Sara Jacobi March 20, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Hey all - latest update on this story, including some more details on the whereabouts of the paintings: http://fenwaykenmore.patch.com/articles/q-a-with-fbi-agent-on-gardner-heist
David Joseph Manger March 26, 2013 at 09:40 PM
You nailed it dead on sir.Mr.Rogers is not hoodwinked.This is a prime example of job security for the impotent under achievers that jump start the story again with a leaked memo to a reporter desperate enough to embarrass his or her self.No shame to that game though.True journalism ethics and practices no longer are an issue or a requirement to get a job in the business. The reading of this story is supports this statement.My high school paper had a better staff!
David Joseph Manger March 26, 2013 at 09:42 PM
i feel fine looking at all this art i found in my attic!Wow !!what is this..uh oh!!I gotta go call a reporter.


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