FBI says it knows who stole the Gardner paintings; doesn't know where the paintings are now

Stolen: La Sortie de Pesage by Degas. More.Stolen: La Sortie de Pesage by Degas. More.

SuspectsSuspectsThe FBI and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum today announced a $5 million reward for the return of the paintings stolen in 1990, in the hopes the money will shake loose information about the whereabouts of the paintings.

In a press conference today - the 23rd anniversary of the heist - the FBI said it now knows who stole the paintings - a mid-Atlantic crime syndicate - but that it doesn't know what happened to the collection, which includes Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings, after it was moved to Connecticut and then Philadelphia:

The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence that in the years after the theft, the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region, and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft. 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. After the attempted sale, which took place approximately a decade ago, the FBI's knowledge of the art’s whereabouts is limited.

The bureau adds:

"With these considerable developments in the investigation over the last couple of years," said Special Agent Geoff Kelly, who heads the FBI investigation, “it's likely over time someone has seen the art hanging on a wall, placed above a mantel, or stored in an attic. We want that person to call the FBI."

Any Icelanders out there with an appreciation for art?



Free tagging: 


Where have I seen those guys before?

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The one on the left looks like the motorcycle cop from Dirty Harry II, and the one on the right looks like Murray from the Odd Couple.

FBI junket to Holywood, anyone?


are they serious

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with those sketches...it was 23 years ago and you're going to throw up cartoon sketches as possible suspects??



One of them is from the Village People, and the other one is Augustus Mutt.

Let's have the JP Neighborhood Council Get On The Case

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They are a governmental organization which answers to no one. We can have the Suicide and Whitey Enablers pick up the members of the "Mid-Atlantic Crime Syndicate" (Knucky Thompson et al?), drop them at the next meeting of the JPNC and have the righteous speak to the thieves about the merits of opposing Whole Foods and stopping transit oriented developments. With no accountability, the JPNC will not have answer to the mental torture inflicted by them on the criminals.

Those paintings, the vase, and the finial, will be back in no time. Everybody wins and crazy people get to feel like they have done good.

You know what might be even

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You know what might be even more helpful than a $5 million reward for information about the art? Some pictures of what the art looks like. Instead, we get useless sketches of fat cop and skinny cop, and pictures of empty frames hanging in the Gardner museum. Most people who visit art museums can't tell a Rembrandt or Vermeer without reading the label on the gallery wall, what chance does the average person have of recognizing one completely out of context?

Both links in the post have

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Both links in the post have high-res pictures of the stolen artworks available - the first in a sidebar, the second at the end of the text.

Why do they look so familiar?

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The two picture of the criminal is so familiar because EVERYONE looked like that in the 80's. Men and women :-|


I know!

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The one on the left is Stephen Mindich and the one on the right is Barry Morris. Or Bill Risteen. Take your pick.

Besides, isn't that statute of limitations up on the theft? Wouldn't whoever has the paintings now just be looking at a possession of stolen property beef?

mid atlantic?

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nicky scarfo atlantic city mob now dead

Statute of Limitations

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The statute of limitations is tolled for any period the culprits were outside the Commonwealth.

Does BPD have yearbooks?

I bet they can find a couple of cops who looked like that in the early 90s. There were a couple of teens outside late who saw a BPD car hanging around while the heist was going on.

Then again, any Sons of Italy could produce a number of matches, too.


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We know who did it, but we won't tell you.

"mid-Atlantic crime syndicate" sounds like something I saw in a Dinero movie. Or were they the enemies of the Super-friends on Saturday morning cartoons?

The paintings probably went to CT or Philly area. CT, among the smallest of our states, is still 5000 square miles.

There are 45,000 households in Hartford alone, and I'm sure Philly is larger. And the paintings could be in any one of those 100,000+ attics, or buried in one of those 100,000 yards, if they weren't destroyed.

I can certainly see where some publicity and the lure of a reward may shake some information loose, but the frenzy over this non-announcement seems like a big to-do over nothing.

Try Japan

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A lot of stolen art ended up there in the 1990s in private collections.

I'd be surprised if these guys didn't have buyers lined up for most of the stolen works before the heist.

i call BS

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an east coast crime syndicate? the statute of limitations is up so they cant arrest anyone, and they dont have the paintings? ok.

looks like they pulled out the old sacco and vanzetti pics and photoshopped a bit to make them more mordern for 1990.

check storage units in santa monica ca. that seems to be a difficult place for the feds to find anything.


I doubt anyone is displaying these paintings

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"it's likely over time someone has seen the art hanging on a wall, placed above a mantel, or stored in an attic. We want that person to call the FBI."

I certainly hope they get the paintings back, but do they REALLY think someone is displaying these "on a wall" or "above a mantle"
somewhere? I mean, COME ON.

Open display is absolutely plausible, and the criminals are done

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I think that it is at least as likely that someone is displaying these paintings as it is that someone paid a s$#%load of money for them, and then put them in an attic for the purpose of never seeing them again.

My gut tells me that these paintings will turn up at an estate sale of a fairly well-to-do person who just croaked, and the children will be shocked to learn that Dear-old-Mom-or-Dad had famous stolen art hanging "over the mantle" (or elsewhere).

Also, do all of you really think that the Bureau is just going to let the responsible parties off the hook even if the SOL has run (which, as others have pointed out, may not be the case)? That's where you should be saying "come on".

People who steal millions of dollars worth of art do not have otherwise clean records. If the Bureau in fact knows who they are, you can be sure that they have been linked to other crimes. You can also be sure that they will be prosecuted for those other crimes that the Feds and others have heretofore not brought them in on in the hope that while they were still out they would lead the authorities to the art.