Has the unsolved and largest art theft in US history just taken a break?


Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Photo by Donna Lumayag via the Gardner Museum

The largest art theft in US history, in which 13 works of art, including several Rembrandts, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990, remains unsolved to this day despite an award of $ 10 million.

Corn, according to the Boston Globe, a recent public admission by former local jeweler Paul Calantropo that one of the stolen items, a gilded bronze eagle finial, was presented to him for sale just a month after the robbery by Bobby Donati, an old acquaintance having connections to the Mafia and a record of thefts that he had often reached in the past with gems to assess, offers a tantalizing clue that supports other accounts linking Donati to the crime.

The following year, Donati was brutally murdered, and experts suggest that the theory that Donati hid the artwork before he was murdered explains why it was never discovered.

But the new information has bolstered the resolve of a team of detectives that includes Calantropo himself who works in tandem with the FBI and has signed an agreement with the Gardner Museum stating that members will also share the reward if they provide information. which lead to the return of the work of art in a state of restoration.

Michael Kradolfer, a longtime Massachusetts Department of Correction investigator who was assigned to the FBI’s organized crime unit before retiring several years ago, said the FBI told him that the memory of Calantropo physical characteristics of the flagship was consistent with that stolen from the museum, giving credence to its story.

In 2013, the FBI announced that it was convinced it had identified the thieves – local criminals who have since died – but declined to name them. Authorities said they believed some of the artwork had changed hands in organized crime circles when it moved from Boston, Connecticut to Philadelphia, where the track cooled off. In 2015, the museum offered a reward of $ 100,000 for information leading directly to the flagship, the least valuable object stolen.

Robert Fisher, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who oversaw the Gardner investigation from 2010 to 2016, said Donati was investigated as a potential suspect before Calantropo came forward. Donati’s criminal record dated from the 1950s and included convictions for armed robbery, arson, theft of bail and possession of counterfeit banknotes. He was under investigation for drug trafficking at the time of his murder.

museum piece

An eagle finial, one of the missing pieces. Photo courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

While the FBI never publicly identified Donati as a suspect, notorious art thief Myles Connor wrote in his 2011 bio that he locked up the Gardner Museum with Donati years before the robbery.

Connor also said that a longtime friend David Houghton visited him in prison shortly after the robbery and told him that Donati was one of the thieves and that they were planning to exploit the work. art to win Connor’s release.

This summary was prepared by TCR Deputy Editor-in-Chief Isidoro Rodriguez


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