Time Running Out for Huge Reward in Famous Art Heist

Help return lost works to Boston's Gardner Museum and get $10M, but only through 2017
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2017 11:35 AM CST
Time Running Out for Huge Reward in Famous Art Heist
In this March 18, 1990, still image from surveillance video released by the US Attorney's Office on Aug. 6, 2015, an unauthorized visitor walks inside the rear entrance of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.   (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/US Attorney's Office via AP)

Anyone who knows someone who knows someone who might know something about the notorious Gardner Museum art heist in Boston in 1990 might want to speak up quickly. A $10 million reward leading to the recovery of 13 works of art expires at midnight on Dec. 31. Actually, a reward remains in place, but it drops to $5 million once 2018 kicks in, notes the AP. The FBI thinks the two men who actually pulled off the heist by masquerading as Boston cops are long dead, so the reward is all about relocating the works by artists including Degas, Manet, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. All told, the paintings are worth an estimated $500 million, making this what the New York Times calls the largest unsolved art heist in history. The museum made headlines by temporarily doubling the reward this year, with an expiration date.

"It's conceivable that some criminal organization or people might be wishy-washy about the $5 million," the museum's security director tells the Times. "But it's not conceivable that they're feeling the same way about the $10 million," adds Anthony Amore. He says the increased amount has led to tips that have filled in details about how the stolen paintings were initially moved around, but so far they've provided no insights into where the paintings are now. The fake cops gained entry on March 18, 1990, by convincing the security guard on duty that they were responding to a call about a disturbance. Once inside, the men handcuffed that guard and another, locked them in the basement, and set about cutting the paintings out of their frames. (More art heist stories.)

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