Twenty-seven years ago, thieves with ties to organized crime swiped 13 paintings by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A $10 million reward in the case expires at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Time is running out on a $10 million reward offer from a Boston museum hoping to recover a trove of masterpieces stolen nearly 30 years ago, reports the Associated Press. Midnight Dec. 31 is the deadline to collect the reward, doubled from $5 million, that is being offered on 13 works worth an estimated $500 million — including paintings by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer — stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On March 18, 1990, two men masquerading as Boston police officers gained entrance to the museum by telling the security guard they were responding to a report of a disturbance. He and another guard were handcuffed and locked in the basement while the thieves made off with the art.
The FBI said in 2015 that two suspects — both Boston criminals with ties to organized crime — were dead. The agency has said investigators believe the paintings moved through mob circles to Connecticut and Philadelphia. Federal prosecutors say Robert Gentile, an 81-year-old reputed Connecticut mobster, is the last surviving person of interest. Federal agents have searched Gentile’s home several times. Prosecutors have said another gangster’s widow claimed her husband gave Gentile two of the paintings. Authorities also have said Gentile talked about the stolen paintings with fellow prisoners, and once told an undercover FBI agent he had access to two of the paintings and could negotiate the sale of each for $500,000. Gentile denies knowing anything about the theft. The five-year statute of limitations on the theft is long-ago expired, so the thieves could not be prosecuted even if identified.