BOSTON – The FBI says it has solved the decades-old mystery of who stole $500 million in artwork from Bostons Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but it is withholding the identities of the thieves, adding another twist to the largest property heist in U.S. history.
On Monday, the 23rd anniversary of the theft, authorities announced a publicity campaign to answer the question: Where is the missing artwork? Their focus has shifted from catching the thieves to bringing home the precious artwork, including paintings by Rembrandt, Manet, Degas and Vermeer.
The key goal here is to recover those paintings and bring them back, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said.
Just after midnight March 18, 1990, two men posing as police officers pulled off the heist, stealing 13 pieces of prized artwork.
For more than two decades, the FBI has chased leads around the globe, finally making progress over the last few years so that they now believe they know the identity of the thieves.
But the FBIs Richard DesLauriers repeatedly rebuffed questions about the identities of the thieves, saying releasing their identities could hurt the investigation.
The new publicity campaign includes a dedicated FBI website on the theft, www.FBI.gov/gardner, and video postings on FBI social media sites.
DesLauriers said authorities believe someone not involved in the theft has seen the artwork without realizing it is stolen.