The Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum art heist remains one of history’s most mysterious art thefts. Clues about how paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and Manet vanished remain sparse. In the past year, though, the FBI has begun investigating new leads, notably a convicted mobster named Robert V. Gentile, who claims to have access to missing paintings. Today, the FBI released surveillance footage from March 17, 1990—the night before the heist—that appears to show a guard letting an unauthorized guest into the museum.
The Boston Globe has identified the guard as Richard Abath, a rock musician who worked at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum at night. (The FBI has yet to confirm that the guard is Abath.) An unidentifiable man comes in a car that has the same make as the one parked outside the museum on the night of the heist, the Department of Justice said earlier today.
On March 18, 1990, two white males dressed in police uniforms entered the museum, handcuffed Abath and another guard, and stole 13 works of art. That the guards let people into the museum at that time was against museum policy. This new footage from the night before the heist reveals another time that Abath operated in defiance of museum policy by letting unauthorized visitors into the museum after hours.
The FBI has valued the missing works at about $500 million. A $5 million reward is currently being offered to anyone with any information about the works stolen.
“We remain committed to one goal: the return of all 13 works to their rightful place, which is here at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum,” Anthony Amore, the director of security at the Gardner Museum, said. “To that end, we support the efforts that the United States Attorney and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are making to uncover any and all information related to the theft of our artwork. We believe that no stone should be left unturned.”
The newly released video footage is embedded below, courtesy of the FBI’s YouTube channel.