Big news for Gardner obsessives
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 in 1990.
Richard DesLauriers, the FBI's special agent in charge in Boston, says the thieves belong to a criminal organization based in New England 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 is to discuss the case later Monday. It has a new website aimed at getting help cracking the case at www.FBI.gov/gardner . 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.
What's most important--and seems developing--is that the bureau says the paintings went down to Philadelphia and Connecticut. Kudos to the museum--and the FBI--to continue to running down this case.
It might take years, decades, even a century, but soon or later, the paintings will be returned. In the world of art theft, hope springs eternal for good reason—cases often take years to solve. In the 1860s, Union Army soldiers stole North Carolina's Bill of Rights out of the state Capitol, and the artifact remained missing for 140 years. It popped up in the art underworld a few times, until in 2003, two antiques dealers tried to peddle the work for $4 million—and the FBI picked it up in a sting.