By Rami Abou-Sabe
On a brisk March morning in 1990, two thieves disguised as Boston Police officers pulled off the greatest art heist in history. The clever duo entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum undetected on March 18th, and left with 13 works of art including Vermeer’s The Concert, Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Manet’s Chez Tortoni, and Edgar Degas’ Leaving the Paddock.
The initial reward for the stolen works was set at $1 million and raised to $5 million in 1997 when no leads materialized. Now, twenty years later, the Museum’s Board of Trustees has doubled the reward to a whopping $10 million. Expiring at midnight on December 31, 2017, the increased offer was made in hopes of inspiring anyone with information to come forward.
“These works of art were purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner for the ‘education and enjoyment of the public forever,’ said Steve Kidder, President of the Gardner Museum’s Board in a statement. “It is our fervent hope that by increasing the reward, our resolve is clear that we want the safe return of the works to their rightful place and back in public view.”
“We encourage anyone with information to contact the Museum directly, and we guarantee complete confidentiality,” said Anthony Amore, the Museum’s Security Director. “This offer is a sign that our investigation remains active. Our hope is that anyone with knowledge that might further our work will come forward.”
While the ransom is a hefty sum, the original heist netted more than $500 million of stolen art. Vermeer’s The Concert, and Rembrandt’s Crist in the Storm are considered some of the most valuable stolen objects on earth.
“Typically stolen masterpieces are either recovered soon after a theft or a generation later,” Amore said. “We remain optimistic that these works will ultimately be recovered.”
Anyone with information has been asked to contact Anthony Amore by calling (617) 278-5114 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.