Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Robert Gentile Walks Into Trap Laid By FBI Doing Their Job


Update:

Convict offered sale of art stolen in 1990 heist, prosecutor says

A Connecticut convict with loyalties to a Philadelphia crime family told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to two of the long-sought paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and could negotiate a sale of each for $500,000, a prosecutor said Monday.
Robert Gentile, a 78-year-old reputed mobster who was released from prison most recently a year ago, allegedly made the offer within the last several months to an agent posing as a drug dealer looking for help with a large-scale marijuana operation, prosecutor John Durham said.
The discussion Monday of the biggest art heist in U.S. history came at a hearing where the judge ordered Gentile detained following his arrest Friday on allegations that he sold a handgun for $1,000 to a convicted murderer who wanted it to collect a drug debt.
Gentile's attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client began working with the FBI 3 1/2 years ago to aid in the recovery of the stolen artwork. But because the FBI believes Gentile has not been forthcoming with everything he knows about the heist, McGuigan said, the agency has set up his client for arrests twice in the last three years.
"It's my argument that a crime isn't committed if it's not orchestrated by the FBI," said McGuigan, who said his client is not withholding any information.
Over the last 25 years, the FBI has chased thousands of leads around the world in the investigation into the theft of artwork worth an estimated $500 million, including Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee." Gentile's alleged assertions would suggest significant new evidence, but it's unclear what came of the offer to negotiate the artworks' sale, and the U.S. attorney's office declined to comment on how it was interpreted by investigators.
On March 18, 1990, two men posing as police officers stole 13 pieces of art including paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Johannes Vermeer. The paintings have never been found and nobody has been charged in the robbery.
Two years ago, the FBI in Boston said investigators believed the thieves belonged to a criminal organization based in New England and the mid-Atlantic. They believe the art was taken to Connecticut and Pennsylvania in the years after the theft and offered for sale in Philadelphia. After that, the trail went cold.
The museum is offering a $5 million reward for the return of the artwork, and the government is offering immunity from prosecution.
Durham, who said Gentile has sworn an oath to the Philadelphia mafia, said at the hearing that Gentile was not truthful in his discussions with the FBI about the missing pieces. He said Gentile told the undercover agent that he believed federal law enforcement would come after him even if he gave up information on the art.
McGuigan said if his client had information on the artwork, he would have given it up to be with his ill daughter, who died while he was in jail. In 2012, the FBI fruitlessly searched Gentile's property in Manchester, Connecticut, even using ground-penetrating radar.
As he ordered Gentile to be detained pending trial on the gun charge, Judge Thomas Smith said the Gardner paintings were not a focus of the case before him, but he told the defendant in the wheelchair that he was alarmed by the level of mafia-related criminal activity attributed to him by prosecutors.
"If in fact what Mr. Durham says is true, and you were a member, it's time that you took senior status," he said.

Feds: Mob Soldier Gentile Claimed Access To Priceless Art That Vanished In Notorious Heist

Feds: Mob Soldier Gentile Claimed Access To Priceless Art That Vanished In Notorious Heist
HARTFORD -- A federal prosecutor said in court Monday that Hartford mobster Robert Gentile told an FBI undercover operative that he had access to the art masterworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and would be willing "to sell individual paintings for $500,000."
But minutes later, the wheelchair bound Gentile's lawyer said Gentile had nothing to do with the notorious 1990 Gardner heist or knowledge of what became of the paintings.
The exchange took place in U.S. District Court in Hartford following the 79-year old Gentile's arrest on Friday for selling a loaded handgun to a convicted murderer.
After hearing of Gentile's history of crime, the circumstances of his latest offense and of his boasts about being a sworn member of a Philadelphia crime family, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Smith ordered Gentile rolled out of his courtroom by guards and held without bail.
"He's a danger to the society in which we live," Smith said.

Federal prosecutor John Durham refused outside of court to elaborate on his remarks linking Gentile to the stolen Gardner paintings.
While arguing in court against Gentile's release on bail, Durham said the gangster, who lives in Manchester, claimed to an FBI operative that he was able to "retrieve certain paintings" and that he would "sell individual paintings for $500,000."

When the operative asked why Gentile didn't simply turn in the paintings for the $5 million reward, Durham said, " Based on Mr. Gentile's own words, he felt the feds were going to come after him anyway even if he was going to turn in the paintings for the $5 million."

Gentile, who the FBI believes may be the last, best hope for tracking down hundreds of millions of dollars in art stolen from the Gardner museum, was arrested again Friday.
Durham disclosed the latest link between Gentile and the stolen art on Friday at Gentile's arraignment on charges of selling a gun to an undercover operative.
Others with knowledge of the case said that there is nothing to indicate that Gentile had stolen paintings to sell and that he may have been trying to orchestrate a swindle.
FBI agents have been pressing Gentile for five years in the belief that he can tell them what became of 13 priceless paintings that at least two thieves stole from the Gardner early on the morning of March 18, 1999. The baffling heist, the subject of multiple books, may be the most notorious art case ever.
The trail left by the thieves had been cold for years when the FBI and a museum representative questioned the widow of a Boston gangster at her remote home in the Maine woods and she told them that her dead husband may have passed Gentile two of the paintings years earlier, before the gangsters sat down over a boiled lobster luncheon at a Portland, Maine, hotel.
The assertion has never been substantiated, but it put Gentile under the FBI microscope. Since then it has been learned that Gentile, known in Hartford as a knock around hood, had been living a secret life in Boston, where he had been inducted into the New England branch of a Philadelphia mafia family.
Gentile, in an interview denied any knowledge of the Gardner job or the missing art, which some value at $500 million. Among the stolen masterworks are three Rembrandts — including his only known seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" — a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas. One source close to the investigation said Gentile is the best lead that authorities have had in 22 years.
"Lies, all lies," Gentile has told The Courant
People with knowledge of the circumstances leading to Gentile's arrest Friday and his recorded statements about selling stolen paintings said both were the result of a law enforcement sting. Gentile thought he was speaking with representatives of a wealthy businessman who wanted to buy stolen art, the people with knowledge of the case said.

HARTFORD, Connecticut — A federal prosecutor says a Hartford crime figure told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to two paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and was willing to negotiate a sale of individual works for $500,000.
Prosecutor John Durham said at a hearing Monday that Robert Gentile made the offer recently to an agent posing as a drug dealer looking for help with a marijuana operation.
The judge ordered Gentile detained following his arrest Friday on weapons charges.
Defense attorney A. Ryan McGuigan says his client was set up by FBI agents who claim Gentile has more information than he has shared about the unsolved theft of artwork worth an estimated $500 million.
The Gardner pieces have never been found and nobody has been charged.
Art Hostage Comments:
 Interesting that the lawyer for Robert Gentile, A. Ryan McGuigan says his client started to work with FBI three and a half years ago, the plot thickens then, not just the usual Cat and Mouse we were led to believe of the FBI trying to sting the Gardner art recovery?

If the offer made by Robert Gentile to the Undercover FBI Agent of selling two Gardner artworks is correct then why did the FBI Undercover not seek to close the deal and recover the two said Gardner artworks, given this discussion between Bobby Gentile and the Undercover FBI Agent was back on March 5th 2015?
Was the offer by Bobby Gentile just a bluff and a scam attempt, if so it has backfired spectacularly and he now finds himself in deep trouble.
However, it must be said Bobby Gentile does himself no favours by selling a gun to a convicted murderer, who was described as an Undercover FBI Operative, meaning the convicted murderer was being used by the FBI to trap Bobby Gentile into selling him a gun.
Bobby Gentile should have realised the FBI were all over him, watching his every move in fine detail, his days as a mobster were over and he should have retired from criminality, especially given he is the focus of the Gardner Art Heist case and caught in the cross hairs of FBI interest.
Also, if Bobby Gentile was willing to sell two Gardner artworks for $500,000 each illegally, then why was he not offered the same deal from the Museum reward offer and immunity from prosecution if he returned the Gardner artworks?
Could the fact the Gentile lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan has a signed deal giving him 40% of any money paid for Gardner artworks being recovered be a reason why Bobby Gentile went outside the remit of that deal?
Truth is authorities want to arrest and indict anyone trying to return the Gardner artworks as the Gardner case has mutated into such a huge political spectacle, if it is seen as a recovery without arrests and any payments made, it sends the wrong message and shows authorities in a negative light.
All this bluster has not produced a single Gardner artwork to date?
Mind you, there is reason to wonder if indeed a Gardner artwork was returned, historically, and that has been kept from the public?

Feds Disclose Recording Of Gardner Museum Heist Suspect Negotiating Sale Of Art

Robert Gentile, the Hartford mobster the FBI believes may be the last, best hope for tracking down hundreds of millions of dollars in art stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, was arrested again Friday, and a prosecutor disclosed that the FBI has a recording of Gentile negotiating the sale of stolen Gardner paintings with an undercover operative.
Federal prosecutor John Durham created a stir when he made the disclosure at Gentile's arraignment, in U.S. District Court in Hartford, on charges of selling a gun to an undercover operative.
Others with knowledge of the case said that there is nothing to indicate that Gentile had stolen paintings to sell and that he may have been trying to orchestrate a swindle.

FBI agents have been pressing Gentile for five years in the belief that he can tell them what became of 13 priceless paintings that at least two thieves stole from the Gardner early on the morning of March 18, 1999. The baffling heist, the subject of multiple books, may be the most notorious art case ever.
The trail left by the thieves had been cold for years when the widow of a Boston gangster called FBI agents to her remote home in the Maine woods and told them that her dead husband may have passed Gentile two of the paintings years earlier, before the gangsters sat down over a boiled lobster luncheon at a Portland, Maine, hotel.
The assertion has never been substantiated, but it put Gentile under the FBI microscope. Since then it has been learned that Gentile, known in Hartford as a knockaround hood, had been living a secret life in Boston, where he had been inducted into the New England branch of a Philadelphia mafia family.
Gentile, 78, denies any knowledge of the Gardner job or the missing art, which some value at $500 million. Among the stolen masterworks are three Rembrandts — including his only known seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" — a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas. One source close to the investigation said Gentile is the best lead that authorities have had in 22 years.
"Lies, all lies," Gentile has told The Courant
People with knowledge of the circumstances leading to Gentile's arrest Friday and his recorded statements about selling stolen paintings said both were the result of a law enforcement sting. Gentile thought he was speaking with representatives of a wealthy businessman who wanted to buy stolen art, the people with knowledge of the case said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith ordered Gentile held over the weekend and scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. Monday on the government's motion to hold Gentile without bail on firearms charges.
Gentile, overweight and nearly crippled by a back injury, was wheeled into the courtroom in a wheelchair. He breathed heavily as he was pushed past the bar. Gentile had arrived at the federal courthouse in Hartford Friday morning to meet with his federal probation officer, but then learned he was being arrested on federal firearms charges.
Durham said in court that although Gentile remains on federal supervised release, he's been engaged in a variety of criminal activities and has been meeting with at least seven convicted felons, including a convicted murderer to whom he is charged with selling a loaded .38-caliber revolver.
"He's been a very active person since his release from prison," Durham said. His arrest came a year and a day after his release from prison, Durham added.
Gentile is heard on undercover recordings, Durham told the judge, discussing the sale of the gun for $1,000. The buyer told Gentile that he wanted it to collect a drug debt, Durham said.
During the hearing, Gentile sat in the wheelchair, sometimes staring at the ceiling and sometimes looking toward the judge shaking his head "no" as the judge recounted his alleged crimes. At one point, Gentile leaned over to his lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, and whispered, "I ain't going anywhere. I'm going on 80 years old. I'm ready to die."
Despite the reference to the Gardner heist, Durham said, the firearms charges are the only reason Gentile was arrested.
"Mr. Gentile's here for one reason only, because he sold a gun to someone he knew to be a convicted murderer," Durham said.
The judge took note of Gentile's apparent frailty.
"This gentleman doesn't look physically formidable," Smith said, adding, "It doesn't take an awful lot of physicality to sell a gun, especially to one who is known to be a convicted murderer."
FBI Special Agent Geoffrey J. Kelly wrote in an arrest affidavit that Gentile had the revolver hidden in a couch cushion in his home on Frances Drive in Manchester.
McGuigan said Gentile denies all the allegations. The new charges, he said outside of court, are "clearly" part of the government's ongoing effort to get Gentile to give investigators information about the Gardner burglary.
"This is what you call throw everything at the wall and see what sticks," McGuigan said, adding later, "If this doesn't involve the Gardner, I'll eat my hat."
Those who know Gentile, who began accumulating an arrest record in the 1950s, dismiss any suggestion that he was involved in one of the biggest art heists of all time. But some of the air went out of Gentile's emphatic denials when it was revealed in court that he submitted to a lie detector test in 2012 and the result showed there was a 99 percent likelihood he was lying when he denied knowledge of the heist.
The last time Gentile was in court he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for two crimes — possession and sale of prescription pain medications and illegal possession of weapons, including an unregistered silencer, by a convicted felon.
FBI agents used an informant to build the drug case against Gentile and a partner in an effort to pressure him into divulging information about the Gardner art. Then, when they searched his house, they found what Smith described at a previous hearing as a "veritable arsenal" containing explosives, guns, silencers, handcuffs, brass knuckles and other weapons.
Among the items found in Gentile's cellar was a list of the stolen Gardner art with its estimated black market value and police uniforms. At least one Gardner thief wore a police uniform.
Gentile could face substantially more prison time if convicted of the new gun offense. Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a federal sentence of as much as 10 years.

Reputed Conn. mobster eyed in Gardner art heist probe held on gun charges

An aging reputed Connecticut gangster prosecutors have long believed has information on the still-unsolved Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist was arrested again this morning, accused of selling a gun to an informant he knew was a convicted felon, authorities said.
Robert V. Gentile, the focus of investigators probing the world-famous robbery in 1990, was arrested after reporting to his probation officer this morning, his lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan said.
Gentile appeared in federal court in Hartford this afternoon charged with possession of a gun, sale of a gun to a convicted felon, and possession of ammunition.
Federal prosecutors told Judge Thomas P. Smith investigators also have Gentile on surveillance allegedly discussing where two of the Gardner paintings were and how much he could get for them.
Gentile was ordered held until a hearing scheduled Monday.
McGuigan said this arrest — like drug charges his client was convicted of in 2013 — was intended to squeeze the aging mobster for more information, though Gentile has long denied having any knowledge about the heist.
“It would be a hell of a coincidence if it weren’t,” McGuigan said in a phone interview.
McGuigan said Gentile had “reported no problems” since his release, and that he was actually in the process of preparing a motion to terminate Gentile’s probation when he was arrested.
Gentile was 76 years old when a federal judge in May 2013 ordered him to serve 30 months in prison — with the possibility of release after 10 — on charges he sold prescription pain pills and compiled an arsenal inside his Manchester, Conn., home, including guns and homemade silencers.
At the time, authorities said they still believed Gentile had information that perhaps could lead them to $500 million in masterpieces stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March 1990. At Gentile’s sentencing, prosecutors said that during a February 2012 search of Gentile’s Manchester, Conn., home, they found, among other items, a Boston Herald article dated a day after the 1990 heist that included a list of the 13 pieces of art and corresponding dollar amounts of their estimated market value.
Prosecutors also said that during an FBI-administered polygraph test, it was determined that there was a “99 percent likelihood” Gentile was lying when he said he didn’t know where the paintings were located.
McGuigan accused prosecutors of “throwing the book” at his client in an effort to turn up the heat on the long-stalled investigation into the missing art.
McGuigan, too, refuted the results of the lie detector test, saying at the time that it came under extreme conditions, including a threat by an investigator that Gentile would die in a federal prison if he didn’t cooperate.

Arrest by F.B.I. Is Tied to $500 Million Art Theft From Boston Museum, Lawyer Says

BOSTON — Federal agents trying to solve the biggest art theft in the nation’s history arrested a 79-year-old Hartford man on Friday after conducting their second sting against him in three years to force him to disclose the whereabouts of $500 million in stolen art, the man’s lawyer said.
The suspect, Robert V. Gentile, was arrested by F.B.I. agents on charges of selling a .38 Colt cobra revolver on March 2 to an unidentified man who was acting as a confidential informant for the authorities. Investigators say Mr. Gentile, who has been on probation as a result of a 2013 conviction that was part of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation sting against him, received $1,000 for the sale.


“It’s the same F.B.I. guys doing the same thing as last time,” Mr. McGuigan said. “They won’t stop squeezing my client.”
Federal officials refused to comment on the arrest Friday. But at a hearing in United States District Court in Hartford, a federal prosecutor, John Durham, said that investigators had a recent recording of Mr. Gentile discussing the sale of some of the stolen paintings.
Mr. Gentile was first imprisoned in May 2013 after he was convicted on federal charges of weapons possession and illegal sale of prescription narcotics. He was sentenced to 30 months and released on probation after serving one year because of his poor health.
After his first arrest, Mr. Gentile told officials he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the 13 pieces of art stolen from the Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. Investigators dug through his property and underneath a shed in his backyard looking for clues to the theft, and found what appeared to be a price list for each of the items.
At the time, Mr. McGuigan said, the authorities said they would drop the charges against Mr. Gentile and even grant him some of the $5 million in reward money if he told them the location of the stolen art. Mr. McGuigan said it would be “illogical” for his client to withhold information with so much reward money at stake. Prosecutors later said that Mr. Gentile performed poorly in a lie-detector test when questioned about the theft.
Mr. McGuigan said that in court on Friday, he and Mr. Gentile again adamantly denied that Mr. Gentile had any information about the crime. Mr. McGuigan said his client had diabetes and required a wheelchair. 
He questioned why Mr. Gentile was arrested on Friday during a visit to his parole officer when the alleged gun sale occurred more than six weeks earlier.
“If he’s such a danger to the community,” he said, “why did they wait so long to take him in?” 

Mr. McGuigan said the two F.B.I. special agents who arrested his client on Friday are the same men who offered Mr. Gentile a deal on the Gardner case in 2012. The agents, Geoff Kelly and James Lawton, are the lead agents on the Gardner investigation, according to the F.B.I.

In an interview in March, Mr. Kelly said he remained convinced that Mr. Gentile, a reputed member of organized crime, had knowledge of the art through longtime underworld associates in Philadelphia.
Mr. Gentile will be back in court on Monday after spending the weekend in jail, his lawyer said, adding that the weapons charge carried a prison term of 10 years and that he would accuse the F.B.I. of entrapment.

Man eyed by Gardner heist investigators arrested again

The FBI visited the home of Robert Gentile in 2012.
Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File
The FBI visited the home of Robert Gentile in 2012.

A Connecticut organized crime figure earlier identified by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist recently talked about selling the stolen paintings to an undercover FBI agent, a government lawyer said in court on Friday.
The assertion that Robert V. Gentile, who has a long criminal record, was attempting to negotiate the sale of the paintings came after Gentile was arrested Friday morning on unrelated gun charges while on supervised release from an earlier prison sentence. Gentile reportedly made the revelation during a conversation with an undercover agent within the last several months.
“The government alleges that the defendant negotiated the sale of paintings, which had been stolen from the Gardner Museum, with an undercover FBI agent,” Assistant US Attorney John H. Durham said during a Friday afternoon court hearing, according to a statement released by the US Attorney’s office in Connecticut.
No further details were available from the US Attorney’s office.
At the conclusion of the hearing in US District Court in Hartford, Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith ordered the 78-year-old Gentile held in custody, pending a continuation of the hearing on Monday morning.


Gentile’s lawyer said Gentile has previously falsely claimed knowledge of the sensational art theft, and that law enforcement authorities are “squeezing” him with the latest arrest to try to obtain information from him.
The lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said in an interview on Friday that Gentile knows nothing about the paintings.
“He’s never seen the paintings nor does he have any idea as to the whereabouts of the paintings,” McGuigan said.
FBI agents in 2012 searched Gentile’s house in Manchester, Conn.
In 2013, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted of illegally possessing a gun and of selling prescription drugs to an FBI informant. McGuigan told the Globe last month that in that case Gentile was not giving law enforcement authorities “what they wanted so they squeezed him.”
McGuigan said that Gentile would have struck a deal for leniency in his earlier criminal case and for a chance at reward money if he had truly known anything about the stolen artwork.
He said Gentile’s arrest on Friday was another effort by law enforcement to force him to reveal information that he does not have about the heist, one of the most notorious in the history of the art world.
Robbers stole several masterpieces from the Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990. The crime has stumped investigators for 25 years.
Gentile was arrested Friday when he reported to his federal probation officer, McGuigan said. He served about 24 months of a 30-month sentence on his 2013 federal convictions, McGuigan said. A judge will consider revoking his early release on those convictions and sending him back to prison on Monday, McGuigan said.
Gentile has been a focus of investigators’ attention since the wife of another organized crime figure told them that before the gangster’s 2004 death he had given several of the stolen paintings to Gentile.
He is one of three people that the FBI has described as “persons of interest” in the case. The other two have died.
During a 2012 search of Gentile’s home in Manchester, agents found a list of the stolen artwork with their black market value, and a stash of weapons, police hats, handcuffs, drugs, and other items.
An empty Rubbermaid tub buried under the floorboards of a shed in his yard was also discovered. It tested negative for paint residue linked to the stolen artwork.
Stephen Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

 Art Hostage Comments:

Whilst the likelihood is the FBI entrapped Robert Gentile, they are only doing their job in using all means to recover the stolen Gardner art, covert and overt.  

The FBI has a Trillion dollar support system behind it so they have the ability to put surveilance up the Wazoo of anyone suspected of having any information about the Gardner art heist and the current whereabouts of any Gardner art.

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Gardner art Heist still fresh in the minds of all and sundry, it does not take Albert Einstein to work out the FBI would be all over Robert Gentile like a rash and be monitoring his every movement, speech, meetings etc.

Love them or hate them, the FBI are much maligned for doing their mandated job of recovering the Gardner art and arresting anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Gardner art.

Any offer of immunity, however tenuous that is in reality, is down to Prosecutors.

For Robert Gentile to fall for the same trick twice in recent years is reckless to say the least.

If for one moment Robert Gentile thought the FBI would leave him alone he is sorely mistaken and now, as before, the offer of giving up any Gardner art he has knowledge of is again the price for these charges, however trumped up, to be dropped.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the lawyer for Robert Gentile, A. Ryan McGuigan allegedly has a legally binding signed agreement that if any Gardner artwork is ever recovered with the help of any Gentile family member or as a result of information relating to any Gentile family member, he will recieve 40% of any reward money, or fee paid out.

This seems stange given the fact A. Ryan McGuigan repeatedly states Robert Gentile has no knowledge of the whereabouts of any Gardner artworks and has never seen any Gardner artworks?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Museum Art (Boston) Recovered 2015, With Art Hostage Solution 25 Years Since Heist


Art Hostage has been a thorn in the side of all concerned relating to the infamous Gardner art heist for decades.
Art Hostage has been toxic in his views about the criminals, law enforcement and the Yellow Journalists who have written about the Gardner art heist for the main(slime)stream media and followed the bullshit line spewed out repeatedly over the last 25 years.

Now, for the first time, Art Hostage can offer the solution that finally recovers the Gardner art.

First of all the Gardner Museum must make a new reward offer by way of a public statement of intent, highlighting the actual conditions needed to claim the reward.
Something along the lines of:

"The Gardner Museum of Boston declares after 25 years of searching without success a new detailed reward offer. 
This reward offer is based upon a 1% percentage of the Market/retail value (or the total reward being up to $5 million for all the Gardner artworks, whichever is the largest amount given the possible damage to the Gardner artworks over the years since) stolen of each stolen Gardner artwork recovered upon its recovery and any damage to the condition since it was stolen in 1990. 
This reward will be paid in full for each Gardner artwork returned and not require the total Gardner artworks stolen back in 1990 to be recovered. 
For example, if the Vermeer is recovered, it will be inspected and valued, then a reward of 1% percent of it current value, in its current condition will be paid out forthwith with no other conditions to apply. 
This will apply to all stolen Gardner artworks as and when they are recovered. 
A simple test can be applied by offering information about a lesser value Gardner artwork, for example a drawing by Degas, to test the validity of this renewed 2015 publicly offered reward"

The actual legal language can be arranged to suit the legal process but the main focus is to offer a collectible reward, taking into account the possible damage or less than Good condition the Gardner art may be in after 25 years. By doing this it will send a clear message to those who can give the vital information as to the whereabouts of the elusive Gardner art and reassure them the reward is real, sincere and legally binding, as well as the reward will be paid out on each individual stolen Gardner artwork, as and when recovered.
This solution is practicable, honest, sincere and will go along way to reassure the scepticism of those within the close knit circle that know the whereabouts of the Gardner art.

Secondly, the so-called immunity from prosecution offer being touted all these years is a false offer as explained by The then Assistant Boston D.A. Brian Kelly, back in 2010 at the IFAR meeting in New York. The then Assistant Boston D.A. Brian Kelly explained that anyone stepping forward to claim immunity would have to provide details of what they know and give up their right to take the fifth amendment as well as agree to testify against those responsible for holding the Gardner art. That is why the offer of immunity has not been challenged by the media and the endless line of Yellow Journalists who have all followed the spin of falsehoods for the last 25 years.
Law Enforcement and the D.A. office in Boston must, alongside the new reward offer made by the Gardner Museum, issue a press release giving details of the immunity offer which will rest assure those who can help, they will not have to provide any information other than their location of the Gardner art and will not face any prosecution for any Gardner art heist related possible crimes.
The wording would be something along the lines of this:

"We, the office of the District Attorney in Boston declare that anyone offering the location of the Gardner art will not face any indictments, charges or be required to give any details of how they came into the knowledge of the Gardner art whereabouts whatsoever. 
The Soul Intention of the Office of the District Attorney in Boston is to see the Gardner art recovered and not to prosecute anyone who provides the location of the Gardner art
Furthermore, we declare the reward offer made by the Gardner Museum 2015 to be lawful and do not object to the Gardner Museum paying the reward out to anyone who offers the location of the Gardner art on the 1% percentage basis of the Market/retail value (or a total of $5 million for all the Gardner artworks whichever is the greatest amount given the possible damage to the Gardner artworks since their theft) of the condition which the said Gardner art works are in upon recovery, as well as the reward being paid out for each Gardner artwork as and when they are recovered"

 Again, the wording can arranged to fit the legal requirements but the jist and message is clear that the immunity offer is a full immunity for the Gardner Art Heist exclusively.

Whilst this may not sit well with all it would demonstrate the sincerity of all concerned as they have been declaring for many years the recovery of the Gardner art is paramount, not prosecuting anyone.

It is amazing, or perhaps not, that for all the many many column inches devoted to the Gardner art heist, not one journalist has asked any questions about the reward offer or immunity offer. They just spew out the same old tired bullshit year after year hoping to catch a break and hoodwink the public.

Furthermore, those with knowledge of the Gardner art whereabouts are not law abiding people and therefore they know there needs to be a concrete reward offer and immunity offer before they step up.
We have never been dealing with law abiding citizens. so why assume they would have any moral fibre and guilt to hand back the Gardner art?

With these new 2015 reward and immunity offers in place then the likes of Jeanine Guarente, Elene Guarente and Earle Berghman (Bobby Guarente's best friend) as well as Robert Gentile would be more willing to offer up what they know about the current whereabouts of the Gardner art.

For the sake of clarity, yet again, I Art Hostage, want to declare publicly that I seek not one dime of any reward, do not seek any payment at all.

Furthermore, if I can assist in any way, shape or form to help anyone with knowledge give the location of the Gardner art, again I seek not one dime of any reward, and in fact would not seek any credit for my assistance and would allow others whom want the spotlight to step forward to claim they helped.

 My sole purpose has always been the return of the Gardner art to its rightful place for the enjoyment of the public and if I can assist in that process all well and good and I would be prepared to step back and allow others, who's egos consume themselves, to claim the undeserved credit.

 I would say however, if I assist in any way, shape or form to recover the Gardner art I would sincerely hope that recovery would be dedicated to the memory of the late, great Harold Smith
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 DXer/Ross gives two links which are well worth consideration:
 http://www.boston.com/news/2015/03/18/the-many-dead-ends-the-gardner-heist-investigation/7lJrNHTmLJP8bX0Qxst8gK/story.html

This is facinating:
 http://photos.syracuse.com/yourphotos/2013/03/isabella_gardner_art_heist.html

Isabella Gardner art heist 

Below, former Maine residence and barn of Robert Guarente searched by FBI in 2009


Isabella Gardner art heist


The Many Dead Ends of the Gardner Heist Investigation

Two thieves, 13 stolen masterpieces, and a 25-year search for justice.



03/08/05 Boston, Mass. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum On March 18 1990 13 pieces of art were stolen from the Museum. The thieves took two Rembrandt paintings, 1 Vermeer painting, 1 Manet painting, 1 Flinck painting, 1 Rembrandt etching, 6 Degas drawings, a bronze beaker and a finial in the form of an eagle. A $5 million reward remains for information leading to their return in good condition. 15 years later, the question of who stole the art work remains unsolved. In this photo, taken in the Dutch Room, two empty frames indicated that the work has never been returned. On the left was A Lady and Gentleman in Black and on the right The Storm on the Sea of Galilee both by Rembrandt. Library Tag 03132005 National/Foreign gardner2012
Frames are all that remains of the paintings stolen from the Isbella Stewart Gardner Museum on March 18, 1990.
The Boston Globe
Twenty-five years ago, in the early morning hours of March 18, bartenders kicked tipsy St. Paddy’s day revelers out onto the streets and locked the doors of their pubs. Around the same time, two men dressed as police officers walked up to the the side door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Eighty-one minutes later, they left with $500 million worth of stolen art. It remains the biggest art heist in history, and no one has ever been charged with the crime.
The bizarre robbery and murky details surrounding it touched off a 25-year chase filled with false starts, close calls, and dead ends. But, as the empty frames await the return of their missing art, FBI officials say they’re determined to solve the case that has baffled them for decades.
“This artwork belongs not only to the Gardner museum, but to the city of Boston and the art world as a whole,” FBI special agent Geoff Kelly, the bureau’s lead investigator on the case, told Boston.com. “To be able to recover these pieces and return them to the museum would finally close the last chapter of one of the most enduring and perplexing mysteries the FBI has ever worked.”
Here’s a look back at the twisted tale of the Gardner heist:
THE THEFT
March 18, 1990 1:24 a.m.:



A 1990 sketch of the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist suspects.
A 1990 sketch of the suspects.
FBI

Richard Abath, the security guard on duty, sat in a tight office, occasionally looking up at four monitors. The doorbell rang. Abath said two men in police uniforms told him they needed to come inside to investigate a disturbance. Abath buzzed them in. According to the Gardner museum’s website, he “broke protocol” by doing this. Abath would later tell The Boston Globe that he didn’t know the museum’s policy against letting in uninvited guests applied to police officers.
Abath told NPR recently that the thieves had him call his partner back. The thieves then took both men to the basement, where they covered the guards’ eyes and mouths with duct tape and handcuffed them to a pipe and a workbench.


Rick Abath as he was found by Boston police.
Boston Police Department

At this point, the thieves had the run of the museum. According to The Globe, there was only one button in the entire museum to activate the alarm, and it was at the guard’s desk. There was also a system of motion sensors throughout the building that could track their movements, which the thieves (unsuccessfully) tried to disarm, allowing investigators to trace (most of) their steps after the fact.
The thieves moved slowly and deliberately. As The Globe said at the time, “the thieves appeared to have set their sights on specific works, having left behind many of equal or greater value.”
WHAT THEY STOLE
Motion sensors indicated the thieves first entered the second-floor Dutch Room, where they took six paintings. They dropped the frame of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s painting on the floor, and smashed the glass covering the canvases of Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert” and Govaert Flinck’s “Landscape with an Obelisk.” The Rembrandt hung on a secret door that looked like a wall panel. Investigators found the door open, which they said indicated the thieves had inside knowledge.


The works stolen from the Dutch room. From top left to bottom right: Vermeer’s “The Concert” (1658–1660), Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (1633), Rembrandt’s “A Lady and Gentleman in Black” (1633), Rembrandt’s “A Self Portrait” (1634), Govaert Flinck’s “Landscape with an Obelisk” (1638), and a Chinese vase or Ku.
The works stolen from the Dutch room. From top left to bottom right: Vermeer’s “The Concert” (1658–1660), Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (1633), Rembrandt’s “A Lady and Gentleman in Black” (1633), Rembrandt’s “A Self Portrait” (1634), Govaert Flinck’s “Landscape with an Obelisk” (1638), and a Chinese vase or Ku.
FBI

The sensors showed that one of the thieves went into the Short Gallery, which is also on the second floor. He took the Degas sketches, as well as a flag finial.



The works stolen from the Short Gallery, which included five Degas sketches and a finial from the top of a Napoleonic silk flag pole, pictured bottom center.
The works stolen from the Short Gallery, which included five Edgar Degas sketches and a finial from the top of a Napoleonic silk flag pole, pictured bottom center.
FBI

The Blue Room, on the ground floor near the museum’s public entrance, may have been the thieves’ last stop, though it’s impossible to know for sure; the Blue Room’s sensors never detected anyone in that room after a guard’s rounds at 12:53 a.m. But, at some point, the thieves took a Édouard Manet oil, “Chez Tortoni,” removing the security bolts that fastened it to the wall.


Édouard Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” (1878-1880).
Édouard Manet’s “Chez Tortoni” (1878-1880).
FBI

2:41 a.m.:
The first thief left the building through the side entrance. Four minutes later, the second thief exited. With them were 13 out of the 2,500 pieces housed in the museum. The art varied in scope and size, and was initially valued at $200 million. That figure was updated to $500 million by 2005.
None of the artwork was insured.
7:30 a.m.:
Abath and the other guard remained bound and gagged in the basement for several hours. Abath later told NPR that he stayed calm during this time by singing Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” to himself. When a maintenance worker and a daytime guard arrived for their shifts and no one was there to buzz them in, they knew something was wrong.
“As they stood there, puzzled, a security supervisor arrived with keys. He opened the door; no guards were in sight.
‘My guards are missing!’ he told [Lyle] Grindle, the museum’s security director, in a phone conversation made shortly after walking in the door. ‘We’ve been robbed . . . and it’s very serious.’
‘Have you called the police?’ asked Grindle.
‘Yes.’
‘Secure the building; I’m on my way,’ Grindle replied. He was so frantic to get to the museum that he cannot remember which car he drove.
The call to 911, on a quiet Sunday morning, crackled over the police radio. Boston police Detective Sgt. Paul Crossen had just exited from the Southeast Expressway when he heard it. Crossen immediately spun his steering wheel and headed toward the Fenway. The phone call bearing news of the theft jangled in Anne Hawley’s kitchen, catching her in midconversation. Edward M. Quinn, the supervisory special agent of the FBI’s Reactive Squad, was sitting in church when his beeper summoned him to the scene of the heist.” (The Boston Globe, May 13, 1990).
They’ve been working on the case ever since.


The front page of The Boston Globe on March 19, 1990.
The Boston Globe Archives

THE INVESTIGATION
Just after the robbery, the museum offered a $1 million reward for the returned artwork. The investigation initially focused on the guards and three unknown individuals whom, The Globe reported, tried to create an early-morning “disturbance” outside the museum two weeks prior to the robbery.
Security officials were quick to comment on the lack of training the museum guards had.
“There is not enough pay, not enough training, not enough maturity,” Steve Keller, a national consultant on museum security, told The Globe, adding that Gardner administrators “didn’t cut corners on equipment. They didn’t buy the cheap brand. The equipment didn’t fail. Someone made a human error and let someone in.”
“You know, most of the guards were either older or they were college students,” Abath told NPR. “Nobody there was capable of dealing with actual criminals.”
“They tell you exactly what to do if someone is damaging a painting,” a guard told The Globe a few days after the heist. “You put your hands up in the air and blow your whistle.”


Boston, MA - 3/19/1990: Anne Hawley, curator of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, answers questions at a news conference in the museum's garden area about the robbery of 13 pieces of art on March 19, 1990. (Tom Landers/Globe Staff) --- BGPA Reference: 150311_MJ_008
Anne Hawley, curator of the Gardner Museum, answers questions at a press conference the day after the theft was discovered in 1990.
Tom Landers/The Boston Globe

But it was soon revealed that the museum itself wasn’t equipped to deal with criminals, either. The only burglar alarm in the entire museum, inside and out, was a “panic button” by the front desk, which was effectively useless as soon as the guards left the area. And none of the artwork was insured.
About two weeks after the robbery, the museum formed a security panel. The Globe published an article further illuminating the many problems the museum had before the heist:
“The truth was, though, that the museum had been in trouble long before the robbery. The Gardner had simply failed to keep up with standard late-20th-century museum practices. There wasn’t even an adequate place for visitors to hang their coats, let alone a climate-control system to protect the museum’s masterpieces from the extremes of Boston’s winters and summers. The problem was a matter of money and management. The trustees, traditionally a self-perpetuating Brahmin board of seven Harvard-educated men, acted as if fund-raising were tantamount to begging. In the 1980s, when there was big money available for arts institutions, the museum didn’t even apply for big grant money—at a time when the Gardner needed millions of dollars’ worth of climate control and conservation.” (The Boston Globe, April 22, 1990).
Two months after the robbery, the police had received around 1,000 tips. They made no arrests, but pinpointed about a dozen suspects around the globe. According to The Globe, investigators had two theories: Either the paintings were stolen to collect on a ransom from the museum, or they were taken on the behalf of a collector.
THE FIRST SUSPECT
One name that surfaced early in the investigation was Myles Connor, a notorious New England art thief who was first charged with art theft in 1966 and spent the next several decades in and out of jail for similar crimes. He told the Patriot Ledger in 2013 that he had planned a heist of the Gardner museum in 1988, but never followed through. Connor was in jail at the time of the 1990 heist.


Myles Connor in 1990 after being convicted of various drug charges, attempted escape, and selling stolen artwork to an undercover agent.
AP

1991
On the first anniversary of the theft, The Globe reported that the museum raised $700,000 to install a climate-control system. The security system was also upgraded, though officials would not say how.
Museum membership, meanwhile, was up 50 percent.
1992
On the second anniversary of the heist, Terry Lenzner, a private attorney hired by the museum to work on the case, ran ads in The Globe and other national newspapers encouraging people with any information to call a toll-free hotline.
At this point, the ransom theory was mostly discounted because so much time had elapsed. Lenzer told The Globe in March that he believed they were stolen for a black market collector.
“We’re not going around to pawn shops,” Lenzner said. “Other than that, we’re not excluding any possibilities.”
“There just isn’t any hard information surfacing,” Lenzer added. Though The Globe reported that the museum and the FBI spoke to each other about the case weekly, Lenzer said “it’s safe to say that we’re not about to announce that we’ve found the objects.”
“We’re not going around to pawn shops.”
In June, The New York Times wrote that as many as 40 FBI agents were working on the case at a time, and that they had “at least one intriguing subject”: Brian McDevitt, a 31-year-old screenwriter from Swampscott who had already served time for an attempt to rob the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, New York, in 1980. Authorities said his plan in that heist was similar to what was ultimately occurred at the Gardner, though he was caught before he could carry it out.
McDevitt denied any involvement, and his lawyer said it was impossible for him to have been involved because he had an alibi and a beard, while both suspects in the Gardner heist had only moustaches.
60 Minutes interviewed McDevitt about the Gardner heist in a November 1992 episode. He continued to deny any having any information about the robbery.
1993
Even so, McDevitt was called to testify before a federal grand jury in August about his whereabouts at 1 a.m. on March 18.
“McDevitt’s lawyer, Thomas E. Beatrice, told WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) yesterday that he’s been assured by prosecutors that his client is not a target of the probe and was subpoenaed ‘presumably to provide some testimony or evidence in their investigation.’ But, Beatrice said his client knows ‘absolutely nothing’ about the Gardner heist. ‘We don’t think he can provide anything that could aid them in this investigation,’ he said.” (The Boston Globe, August 7, 1993)
McDevitt died in 2004. He was 43.
1994
The investigation was given new life in April, when the Gardner museum received an anonymous letter offering to help return the art for a $2.6 million ransom and full immunity from prosecution for those involved. The author asked for the museum to respond by printing a code in May 1 edition of The Globe: the number 1 in the US-foreign dollars exchange listing for the Italian Lira. The Globe obliged in what it called a “community-service decision”:


The anonymous letter writer asked for the museum to respond by printing a code in May 1 edition of The Globe: the number 1 in the US-foreign dollars exchange listing for the Italian Lira.
The anonymous letter writer asked for the museum to respond by printing a code in May 1 edition of The Globe: the number 1 in the US-foreign dollars exchange listing for the Italian Lira.
The Boston Globe

The Globe said that after the secret code was printed, the museum received a second letter from the source, who seemed encouraged by the Gardner’s willingness to negotiate, but alarmed by what he called an aggressive reaction from law enforcement. He wrote: “Right now I need time to both think and start the process to insure confidentiality of the exchange.” He never wrote again.
A POSSIBLE SIGHTING
1997
On the seventh anniversary of the heist, the museum’s board of trustees increased the reward offer from $1 million to $5 million.
The Globe reported that a few months later, in August, William P. Youngworth III, facing a variety of charges including receiving a stolen van, illegal possession of ammunition, illegal possession of three antique firearms, illegal possession of marijuana, and being a habitual criminal, told the FBI he could provide information about the heist in exchange for having his felony charges dropped.
Youngworth provided what he said were details about the heist to the Boston Herald:
“The thieves who posed as police officers and forced their way into the Gardner museum in the Fenway had on an earlier visit left an unalarmed museum window unlocked so they could use it as an alternative entrance; that they damaged several bolts that were used to secure the paintings to the wall, and that one of the thieves pulled out a pocket knife and cut two of the Rembrandts from the frames because of the difficulty of removing the bolts. Sources familiar with the investigation said it was public knowledge that the paintings were slashed. Beyond that, they said that so far Youngworth has not offered any convincing details about the heist.”
Connor, the man who was first charged with art theft in 1966 and was in jail at the time of the Gardner heist, re-entered the picture when Youngworth demanded his release from jail (and the $5 million reward) as additional conditions for his assistance. According to the Los Angeles Times , Youngworth did so because Connor was his “oldest and dearest friend.”
A few weeks later, authorities brought Connor to Boston to testify about his involvement. Youngworth also appeared on an episode of Nightline where he claimed to be able to deliver the art.


William P. Youngworth, III, at a court appearance in 1997.
Tom Landers/The Boston Globe

In late August, Herald writer Tom Mashberg told a strange story. An associate of Youngworth drove him to a warehouse (which was either an hour outside Boston or in Brooklyn, depending on which of Mashberg’s accounts you read) to view what Youngworth claimed was the stolen Rembrandt painting “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.” Mashberg said the canvas was unrolled from a tube and illuminated by a flashlight in the dark warehouse. Mashberg was later given paint chips that were supposed to have come from the stolen work, as well as photographs of other pieces. The Herald hired an expert to analyze the chips, who concluded that they came from a Rembrandt.
Though Mashberg’s glance was fleeting, The Globe reported that “a key investigator said that the FBI and US attorney’s office, lacking a significant break in the spectacular case, had no choice but to assume the painting is authentic.”
Mashberg said the canvas was unrolled from a tube and illuminated by a flashlight in the dark warehouse.
On September 23, The Globe reported that Connor said David Houghton, a former mechanic and associate who died in 1992, was the mastermind behind the heist. But, The Globe said, those who knew Connor suspected he was trying to pin the crime on someone who was already dead in order to secure his own release from jail.
Youngworth was convicted of possessing a stolen van in early October and returned to prison.
Meanwhile, the Herald turned the paint chips over to the Gardner museum for analysis. In the December, the results were in. Contrary to what the Herald’s expert found, the museum said the chips were not from a Rembrandt.
And so ended the negotiations with Connor and Youngworth.
1999
Former FBI agent Larry Potts, now working for the Gardner, wrote to Youngworth pleading for his cooperation and help returning the stolen art. Youngworth refused to meet with Potts, but he wasn’t completely opposed to negotiating:
“ ‘Yes, I would be delighted to help you and the Gardner Museum recover their former property,’ Youngworth wrote on June 21. ‘Kindly remit $50 million dollars U.S. and a signed immunity agreement issued by the Attorney General of the United States.’” (The Boston Globe July 1, 1999).
EVEN MORE NAMES
2000
Three new names emerged in the investigation. The Globe reported Carmello Merlino and David Turner, who were charged with plotting to rob an armored car company that year, had been questioned about the Gardner heist in February 1999. The FBI also questioned their associate, former Boston police officer Peter Boylan, The Globe said.
2004
Youngworth’s name came up yet again when, in an interview with ABC’s Primetime Thursday about the case, he said reputed Charlestown gangster Joseph P. Murray, who was shot to death by his wife in 1992, told authorities in the early 1990s that he could provide information about “a major art theft” in exchange for the release of an unnamed IRA prisoner jailed in England.
“I’m not saying who he reached out to, but Joe Murray had the ability to end this thing where everyone winds up happy, but they wouldn’t pick up on him,” Youngworth said. (The Boston Globe May 11, 2004).
2007
An unnamed “former employee” of the museum told The Globe that a federal grand jury would hear evidence that three people, not two, carried out the crime. The employee said that authorities told him they “were hoping that the grand jury would ‘shake things up’ in the long-stalled investigation.” It didn’t.
2009


Ulrich Boser’s book about the theft.

Around the 20th anniversary, many journalists wrote books about the heist. One of them was Ulrich Boser, who released “The Gardner Heist.” He named Turner as the most likely suspect.
Not to be left out, The Globe also reported on potential evidence against Turner:
“While in Miami, three days before the Gardner robbery, Turner purchased $645 worth of unspecified merchandise from the Spy Shops International in Miami, a store that specialized in the sale of undercover and electronic surveillance equipment. Also viewed by the Globe was a receipt that showed Turner’s American Express card was used in Fort Lauderdale on the return of a leased car on March 20, 1990, two days after the robbery. While the receipt appears to be signed by Turner, another person’s Social Security card number is written on the receipt, which investigators say suggests someone other than Turner might have been using his credit card that day. Goldstein, Turner’s lawyer, declined comment on the documents.
In addition, Turner was observed by police surveillance in September 1991 carrying an ‘Oriental vase’ from his car into the Boston office of Alfred Sollitto, a lawyer with whom he had become acquainted. Among the 13 items stolen from the Gardner Museum was a vase-like, Chinese bronze beaker. Sollitto acknowledged in an interview that he was a friend of Turner’s but could not recall Turner ever bringing a vase to his office.” (The Boston Globe, March 15, 2009).
2010
Hoping advances in forensic technology over the last 20 years would reveal something new, the FBI resubmitted evidence from the crime scene for further DNA testing.
“ ‘If they left any sweat on that duct tape, a sample could be drawn, and with that sample there’s the possibility of a result,’ said Dr. Bruce Budowle, former senior scientist of the FBI’s Quantico lab.
The FBI conducted DNA tests on items taken from the crime scene at the time of the theft, but none of the tests produced a usable sample.
Huge strides in DNA analysis in the two decades since the crime could mean a different outcome this time.”


Robert K. Wittman’s book about theft.
Robert K. Wittman’s book about theft.
Amazon

Another book about the case was released, this one written by retired FBI agent Robert K. Wittman. In Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, Wittman said that in 2006 and 2007, he posed as a wealthy art collector interested in purchasing several of the paintings through two Frenchmen who had ties to Corsican mobsters. The Frenchmen claimed they could get him the Vermeer and at least one Rembrandt, but investigation fell apart because, Wittman said, of bureaucratic infighting between federal agents and supervisors.
An article in Boston Common magazine about the 20th anniversary of the heist also implicated Turner:
“The evidence against Turner is significant, and FBI files describe how Turner’s crime boss, Carmello Merlino, tried to offer information about the paintings in exchange for a reduced prison sentence shortly after being picked up for a drug charge in 1992. The last witness to see the thieves before they entered the museum described one of the thieves as having ‘Asian eyes,’ and Turner fits that description.”
2011
Mashberg wrote a book about art theft with Gardner’s chief of security, Anthony M. Amore, but Amore didn’t mention the Gardner heist because, Mashberg would later say, the “hunt had reached a delicate phase.”
FERRETING OUT THE ART
2012
The Globe reported that the widow of Robert Guarente, a friend of Merlino’s, told authorities that she saw her husband give Robert Gentile a painting in 2003. The FBI believed Gentile had ties to the Boston faction of Philadelphia’s Mafia.
In May, authorities searched Gentile’s Connecticut home using everything from a radar to a ferret. Nothing was found.


A law enforcement agent searches a shed behind the home of reputed Connecticut mobster Robert Gentile in Manchester, Conn., Thursday, May 10, 2012. Gentile's lawyer A. Ryan McGuigan says the FBI warrant allows the use of ground-penetrating radar and believes they are looking for paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum worth half a billion dollars. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
A law enforcement agent searches a shed behind the Connecticut home of Robert Gentile in 2012.
Jessica Hill/AP

Gentile denied any role in the heist. But his lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, told The Globe in November that he “knew some of the individuals that the government believes may have had something to do with the heist.”
2013
On March 18, 2013 — the 23rd anniversary of the Gardner Museum theft — the FBI announced that it knew the names of the thieves but would not disclose them. They also said that some of the works had been put on the black market in Philadelphia in the previous decade.


FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers at a 2013 news conference about the Gardner theft at FBI headquarters in Boston.
Steven Senne / AP

In May, Gentile was sentenced to 30 months in prison for unrelated charges. Although he denied any involvement in the Gardner theft.
“Prosecutors said for the first time in open court Thursday that their continued interest in Gentile in relation to the Gardner was based in part on a list they found in his home of the 13 works of art that were stolen in the heist, their estimated value, and a Boston Herald article published days after the theft. They also said a polygraph test he took about his knowledge of the heist concluded with a 99 percent assurance rate that he was lying.” (The Boston Globe, May 10, 2013).


Former Gardner Museum night watchman Rick Abath in 2013.
Matthew Cavanaugh/The Boston Globe

Investigators also returned to Abath, the security guard. In his first public interview about the heist, he told The Globe in 2013 that he met with FBI agents to discuss the case in 2009 and was questioned by federal prosecutors in 2012, where “investigators all but accused him of stealing the missing Manet.”
Abath denied any role in the theft.
“I totally get it. I understand how suspicious it all is,” Abath told The Globe. “But I don’t understand why [investigators] think . . . I should know an alternative theory as to what happened or why it did happen.”
2014
FBI Special Agent Geoff Kelly, the bureau’s lead investigator on the Gardner Case, said the FBI had confirmed sightings of the works. He also named Carmello Merlino, Robert Guarente, and Robert Gentile as the main persons of interest.
WHERE WE STAND NOW
Kelly told Boston.com that, 25 years later, the agency remains hopeful the crime will be solved.
“These paintings are hundreds of years old and 25 years is a relatively short period of time,” Kelly said. “Stolen artwork typically is returned either soon after the theft, or generations later.”
The investigation remains active and ongoing. The frames are still empty.

5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever

5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever
On March 18, 1990, two police officers—or so they seemed—walked into a Boston museum and left with $500 million worth of paintings. They have never been found.
The two thieves seem to have gained access to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in the wee hours of the 18th by claiming they were investigating a report of a disturbance (remember, they were dressed as cops). They then detained the guards and proceeded to cut priceless paintings out of their actual frames, making off with thirteen works including paintings by Degas, Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Manet. These paintings have never been recovered—despite the $5 million reward.
The heist has fascinated and obsessed people for exactly 25 years. It's become a career-defining investigation for more than one journalist, several of whom have written entire books and even become entangled with law enforcement themselves in their quest to uncover the paintings. Yesterday, one of these journalists—Tom Mashberg, author of Stealing Rembrandtsrecounted his years on the hunt for the works in The New York Times, where he frequently covers art theft and repatriation. He also mentioned a litany of other theories, which themselves are completely fascinating. Let's take a look.

Boston Mobsters Did It

The prevailing theory—the one that the FBI thinks is correct—is that the heist was the work of local mobsters. This is the most likely explanation, and it odds are good that even if other theories turn out to be true, this version of events played a role. The Boston Globe explains:
[The FBI] points to a local band of petty thieves — many now dead — with ties to dysfunctional Mafia families in New England and Philadelphia. It also suggests they had help from an employee or someone connected to the museum.
The FBI said as much in 2013, saying that the Bureau had a "high degree of confidence" that the stolen paintings eventually made their way south towards Philly and even Connecticut, where they were sold. "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," the FBI said during a press conference.
But even if these figures were involved, which seems pretty likely at this point, there are a number of places the paintings could have wound up—and a number of ways they could have gotten there.
5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers in 2013. AP Photo/Steven Senne.

The Irish Republican Army Did It

The "Irish connection" is an auxiliary theory—it suggests that the thefts were carried out in Boston by local criminals in order to help the IRA. Perhaps local criminals sent the paintings to the IRA to help finance operations across the Atlantic? Here's how author and Boston Globe journalist Kevin Cullen put it in 2013 in an interview with WBGH:
"I never ruled out the idea the IRA was involved," he said. "Because, if you go back to that period particularly, the IRA was actively stealing art in Europe. They were stealing art from some of the big mansion houses in Ireland and then fencing it somewhere in Europe. So I never completely ruled that out, but it sounds like the authorities have ruled that out."
This is one of several theories that involve European criminals and dealers—after all, these paintings were all painted by middle European artists, with the exception of a Chinese vase that was also stolen.
5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever
A security guard stands outside the Dutch Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. AP.

A Famed Art Thief Orchestrated It

In the beginning, specific figures were fingered as possible suspects. For example, there was Myles Conner, a well-known art thief, who became an early suspect in the crime—even though he was in jail. Ulrich Boser, author of The Gardner Heist, described Connor in 2010 on PBS:
He was a Mayflower descendant, he was a member of Mensa, he headed a band called Myles Conner and the Wild Ones that played with Roy Orbison and the Beach Boys, and he was a prolific art thief. He had stolen Japanese statutes; had stolen Colonial-era grandfather clocks; stolen old master paintings; he robbed the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.; he robbed the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
But Connor would have had to design the heist via prison, if he was really involved. A few years ago, Mashberg himself commented on WBUR that it's entirely possible Connor played a role in the heist, since he was peripherally involved with specific mob figures the FBI says played a part in the crime.
5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever

The French-Corsican Mob Did It

So, about those Europeans. The founder of the FBI's Art Crime Team, Robert K. Wittman, believed he was near recovering at least some of the works when he conducted an undercover operation targeting French-Corsican criminals who claimed to be selling works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. In his 2011 book, Priceless – How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures, Wittman describes how in the end, the French police blew his cover and the operation was ruined. Read more about it here.
5 Theories About the Greatest Unsolved Art Heist Ever
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent Geoff Kelly in 2013. AP Photo/Steven Senne.

The Paintings Were Destroyed After the Thieves Panicked

But what if the crime wasn't as dramatic as all that? What if it was the equivalent of a joyride—a dumb and badly planned robbery by criminals who didn't fully understand what they were doing? And when they realized just what they had done, they trashed the loot? The author of The Art Forger, Molly Parr, described a personal theory along these lines in Jewish Boston:
My theory is that someone then did it as a lark, just to see if they could do it. And once they did it, they kind of asked, now what? They couldn't sell them, so they decided to dump the paintings at the dock. But the truth is, no one knows! Anything is possible. It's a 25-year-old ongoing crime.
But the NYT yesterday, Mashberg talked to the FBI agent on the case, Geoff Kelly, who has serious doubts about that idea:
Mr. Kelly said he rejected the notion that the art was destroyed by the thieves as soon as they realized they had "unwittingly committed the crime of the century." "That rarely happens in art thefts," Mr. Kelly continued. "Most criminals are savvy enough to know such valuable paintings are their ace in the hole."
In the end, this is a fascinating story for reasons beyond the crime itself. The work of brilliant journalists like Mashberg have played a pivotal role in the FBI's investigation. In a way, the Gardner heist set a precedent for the many independent journalists who are investigating cold cases today. Of course, it's also a cautionary tale about public participation—the hundreds of leads that the FBI has followed have all gone cold.
Will the paintings ever be rediscovered? The grimmest fear seems to be that the paintings were hidden by the criminals—and the criminals are now dead. As the decades pass, the odds of finding the paintings could be slipping away, too. Let's hope that's not the case, and that the quarter century of work by journalists and investigators won't come to nothing.
So, what do you think? Do you have your own theory?
Lead image: The empty frame from which thieves cut Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," seen here in 2010. AP Photo/Josh Reynolds.

A stolen vase, too? Better get these guys on the case.

Jane Langton set a mystery, Murder at the Gardner, there. It was published in 1988, before the robbery, and claimed that Isabella Stewart Gardner's will said the museum would be closed if anything was added to or removed from the collection. I gather that Langton was wrong about that. The book is, however, a terrific read.

I still think it was this guy.

If anyone is interested in seeing the stolen works the museum website has a virtual tour with some other information regarding the heist.
http://www.gardnermuseum.org/resources/thef...