Nearly twenty five years after one of the world's most expensive art heists the FBI has announced that they have identified the individuals who stole $500 million worth of masterpieces.
The historic theft took place at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, when two thieves posed as Boston Police, duping security guards and making off with 13 artworks by masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet. Fast forward nearly two decades later and law enforcement officials claim to know who the two robbers are, reports WCVB News.
In the announcement, which took place on the 23rd anniversary of the crime, officials stated that they had tracked the painting's whereabouts after they were sold, following the art as it circulated through Connecticut and Philadelphia.
“The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence in the years after the theft the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region and some of the art was taken to Philly where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft," stated Richard Deslauriers, a special agent in charge of the Boston FBI branch, in a statement posted on the Boston Herald.
"With that confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the mid-Atlantic states and New England,” he added.
The location of the paintings, however, remains a mystery, which is why authorities have taken to the public for any information that could help close the case. The museum is continuing to offer a reward of $5 million for help with the return of the art and has released the new information in hopes of reinvigorating public concern.
“You don’t have to hand us the paintings to be eligible for the reward," Anthony Amore, the Gardner Museum's chief of security, said in the FBI's statement. "We hope that through this media campaign people will see how earnest we are in our attempts to pay this reward and make our institution whole. We simply want to recover our paintings and move forward. Today marks 23 years since the robbery. It’s time for these paintings to come home.”
This publicity campaign is similar to the FBI tactics used to apprehend Boston's famous gangster, James "Whitey" Bulger, writes CBS Local News. What do you think, readers? Does this announcement -- which does not actually disclose the names of the suspects -- bring us any closer to tracking down the art? Scroll through a slideshow of how Twitter is reacting to the news below.
You can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI with pertinent information. Tips may also be submitted online at https://tips.fbi.gov.