Crime News

FBI: Suspects in $500 M. Gardner Museum Theft Are Dead

Still from security camera footage of the thieves during a practice run of the robbery on the evening of March 17, 1990. COURTESY THE ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM, VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, VIA U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

Still from security camera footage of the thieves during a practice run of the robbery on the evening of March 17, 1990.

COURTESY THE ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM, VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, VIA U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

Today an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to the Associated Press that the suspects in the 1990 theft of 13 works from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston—believed to be the largest art theft in history—are dead.

In 2013, the FBI stated that it knew who the perpetrators were, that the thieves were members of a New England–based crime ring and that the art had quietly been offered for sale in the years following the heist. Oddly, however, they did not charge them, emphasizing a focus on recovering the looted art.

Now we finally know why: the two suspects are dead. We still don’t know who they were, though, as the FBI hasn’t released any names, so we can still look forward to that. Peter Kowenhoven, the assistant special agent in charge of the investigation in Boston, revealed this tidbit during an interview with the AP: “The focus of the investigation for many years was: Who did this heist? And we have through the great investigative work identified who did this heist, and both those individuals are deceased. [Now,] all our investigative efforts are being guided toward the recovery of this art.”

A low-resolution video of a practice-run robbery the night before, recorded by museum security cameras, was released to the public on Thursday in the hope that it would spur anyone with information regarding the lost artwork to come forward. Here, this might also jog your memory: the museum is offering a $5 million reward for any information leading to the recovery of any or all of the artworks (in good condition, of course).

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