As I was waking up and weighing the benefit of rolling over for another 15 or 20 minutes, I started thinking about my attire for Saturday night. My date has informed me that she’ll be wearing green jewelry, and she asked if I could wear a matching tie. While I was processing this, I pressed the remote for my TV, and CNN came on the screen. The discussion being televised involved the largest property robbery in history.
In 1990, thieves stole 13 pieces of artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The institution was created in the will of Mrs. Gardner, and included specific instructions about how her collection was to be displayed. It also specified that anyone named Isabella should be admitted free of charge, a practice that continues today.
Apparently, one of the reasons that the theft was a featured story now is that this week marks the 23rd anniversary of the crime. On March 18, 1990, two men, dressed as security guards, were able to slip into the museum and pull off the heist in 81 minutes. During that time, they took a Vermeer (only 32 exist in the world), three Rembrandts (a self-portrait, “A Lady and Gentleman in Black,” and “Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” which was the artist’s only seascape), and nine other important works.
Interestingly, the FBI says that it knows who the criminals are, but the statute of limitations has run out. Consequently, they are concentrating on the return of the artwork. Of course, any people who now possess the stolen goods could be prosecuted, but the lawmen are willing to grant immunity to get the pieces returned to the museum...