FBI Thinks It Cracked 23-Year-Old Art Heist Mystery
Agents believe they know IDs of thieves behind $500M crime
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2013 4:15 PM CDT
In this March 21, 1990 file photo, a security guard stands outside the Dutch Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, where robbers stole more than a dozen works of art.   (Anonymous)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – The FBI believes it knows the identities of the thieves who stole art valued at up to $500 million from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum more than two decades ago. Richard DesLauriers, the FBI's special agent in charge in Boston, says the thieves belong to a criminal organization based in New England and the mid-Atlantic states. He says authorities believe the art was taken to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region in the years after the theft, and offered for sale in Philadelphia about a decade ago.

The FBI has a new website aimed at getting help cracking the case. In a video, DesLauriers says the statute of limitations has passed for the crime of art theft and authorities are focused on recovering the art. He calls the heist one of the largest art thefts in US history. The theft happened when two people posing as police officers fooled security guards into believing they were there for a legitimate reason before locking the guards in the museum's basement and making off with the stolen objects. Among the art stolen was Vermeer's "The Concert," two Rembrandt oil paintings, and a number of Degas sketches. (Could Whitey Bulger have had anything to do with today's revelation? Click here.)