Gardner Museum Theft Case

13 paintings lost in one day…


Isabella Gardener Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardener was a museum located in Boston, Massachusetts. On March 18,1990, a big theft occurred. Two thieves, that who are still unknown, wore Boston police officers’ outfits and entered the museum very casually. The guard on duty opened the door for them without hesitation but it was a big mistake. There were two guards that were on duty and when they were far away from the one and only alarm bell, the two thieves grabbed them and pulled them down to the basement. They were tied against the wall and their mouthes duck-taped.


The following names are the paintings that were stolen that night:

Vermeer, The Concert

Rembrandt, A Lady and Gentleman in Black

Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Rembrandt, Self-Potrait

Govaert Flinck, Landscape with Obelisk

Manet, Chez Tortoni

Degas, La Sortie de Pesage

Degas, Cortege aux Environs de Florence

Degas, Program for an artistic soiree (1)

Degas, Program for an artistic soiree

Degas, Three Mounted Jockeys

Chinese Beaker or Ku

Bronze Eagle Finial

It is estimated that they stole approximately $500 million worth of art work.

The next day, real police officers came and realized what had happened. They untied the two guards and the guards told them what had happened; however, it was not as helpful because they could not exactly remember the criminals’ faces. It was a serious case and so the police called the FBI and they too started investigating this case. They looked carefully if the criminals left or dropped anything behind, they looked for their possible fingerprints and their possible motive for the crime.

Even after a long investigation, no questions were answered. After this case, the Isabella Stewart Gardener museum doubled the number of guards on duty and made sure that no disguised police officer were let in.

Most of the criminal cases that I talked about don’t have a specific criminal that were caught for his/her crime. However, this case is interesting. I found out that after 23 years, the police and the FBI were successful in getting who it was. They did not announce their names but the two of them are engaged in a criminal gang near East Coast. They were caught but they were not put into jail because the time when they stole the paintings, it was not considered a crime.

At that time, the owner of the museum and the paintings threatened the thieves to bring the paintings back but now, after 23 years, they are just pleading for the paintings back and no more. But it is predicted that the paintings were already sold and lost.


Works Cited

“FBI Top Ten Art Crimes.” FBI. FBI, 02 Sept. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

“Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Theft.” Crime Library:., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

Peters, Justin. “The FBI Knows Who Robbed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.” Slate Magazine., 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2014.

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