The greatest art theft of all time is the $500m heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A new book about the crime causes the Guardian to recount the top ten art thefts and re-open the case of the Gardner getaway:
Boser rejects the idea of a shadowy “Dr No” villain, presumed by many to have masterminded the heist for personal enjoyment. He explains that art theft is more mundane and fantastical than that: stolen art is sometimes fenced to insurance adjusters, or serves as a black-market bond.
Boser’s investigation leads him to suspects ranging from James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston-based Winter Hill Gang crime lord and the FBI’s second most wanted fugitive, to Thomas “Slab” Murphy, the IRA lieutenant who organised the Warrenpoint ambush. Myles Connor – a former rockabilly and probably the greatest art thief who ever lived – is just one of the violent, colourful figures in Boser’s tale of hardnosed FBI agents, corrupt Boston police, and slimy mob lawyers.
By Boser’s accounting, every cat burglar between Boston and Dublin has a bead on the missing masterpieces. To his credit, the book is a thrill despite the frustrating nature of the investigation, in which he painstakingly tracks audacious leads from mendacious thugs only to arrive at dead ends. And a few dead suspects. And to be sure, no art.
Sketching the Details of the Gardner Heist (Guardian)