It was like a scene from a movie: On March 18th, 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers walked into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, overtook security guards and proceeded to walk out with 13 artifacts, valued at $500 million. Twenty-three years later, the crime remains unsolved. Now, the FBI is turning to the public to help uncover the mystery of the missing art.
In a press statement today, the FBI announced that they now know the thieves’ identities, but still do not know the location of the art. The FBI launched a public campaign — including a website — to help find the works, and the Gardner Museum is offering a $5 million reward for information on the return of the artwork.
“Today, we are pleased to announce that the FBI has made significant investigative progress in the search for the stolen art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum,” said Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office in a statement. “We’ve determined in the years after the theft that the art was transported to the Connecticut and Philadelphia regions. But we haven’t identified where the art is right now, and that’s why we are asking the public for help.”
The $5 million reward will be granted to anyone who can offer “information that leads directly to the recovery of all of our items in good condition. What that means is that you don’t have to hand us the paintings to be eligible for the reward,” said Anthony Amore, the Gardner Museum’s chief of security.
CBS Boston points out that the FBI tactics used in this public campaign are similar to those used to capture Whitey Bulger in 2011.
The stolen artwork includes rare paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet. The FBI notes that the theft is the largest property crime in U.S. history.
If you have any information regarding the heist, call the FBI’s hotline at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Check out images of the stolen artwork below.