Art Law Report

FBI Releases Gardner Video, Suggests Dry Run Like Another That May Have Preceded 1990 Heist

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on August 10, 2015 at 9:28 AM

As we have often lamented, real news in the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist has been rare, with coverage far more often manufactured around anniversary dates. Last week was an exception at least from the public’s standpoint when the FBI released video footage from the museum the day before the robbery in an effort to solicit the public’s assistance. The FBI posited that the men seen in the video may have been engaged in a trial run for the eventual theft, in which the thieves pretended to be police officers to gain entry to the museum after hours. Most of the recent efforts by law enforcement have focused on Robert Gentile, whom authorities have accused of having information concerning the paintings’ whereabouts. Gentile has consistently denied knowing anything, and has spent time in prison that might have been avoided had he revealed information. Gentile most recently accused the FBI of entrapment, and no progress on that front seems particularly likely, but this approach is a notable shift.

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Topics: Robert Gentile, Gardner Heist, Emerald Necklace, Mission Hill, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, FBI, Steven Kurkjian, Richard Jewell, Huntington Avenue, Museums, Master Thieves: the Boston Gangsters who Pulled of, Frederick Law Olmstead, Museum of Fine Arts

Sorting Through this Week’s Gardner Heist Developments: Old News is No News

Posted by Nicholas O'Donnell on April 21, 2015 at 12:53 PM

In a rare development not manufactured to coincide with the anniversary of the March 18, 1990 theft of thirteen paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a man was arrested this week who has been identified previously by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the theft. So has there been a break in the case? Not really, but the details bear scrutiny. If, as a judge was told by the prosecution, Robert Gentile had been recorded offering to sell the paintings for $500,000, it would be a major breakthrough (and remarkable, given that a $5 million reward is available). But the recording has not been made public, and the FBI has greatly overstated the certainty of various players' involvement before, so the view here is skeptical until further evidence.

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Topics: Robert Gentile, Gardner Heist, Robert Guarente, Stephen Kurkjian, John Kerry, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, FBI, Bobby Donati, A. Ryan McGuigan, George Reissfelder, Breitbart.com, Vinnie Ferrara, Museums, Associated Press, Master Thieves: the Boston Gangsters who Pulled of, David Turner, Breitbart, Museum of Fine Arts

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