18.03.

1990: The Biggest Art Theft in History

1990: The Biggest Art Theft in History
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 18 March 1990
  • Two thieves disguised as police officers arrived at the door of the museum and asked the guard to let them in, telling him that they had received an urgent call for help from the museum.

On this day in 1990 thieves stole works of art estimated to be worth up to $500 million. It happened in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the American city of Boston, early in the morning.

At that time, namely, two thieves disguised as police officers came to the door of the museum and asked the guard to let them in, telling him that they had received an urgent call for help from the museum.

The guard let them in, and when they entered they told him they recognized him as a suspect and ordered him to come in front of the table. That way they distanced him from the only place he could access the alarm.

Then they ordered him to invite the other guard. They were both handcuffed and locked in the basement with their mouths duct taped.

14 works of art were stolen from the museum. They took three Rembrandts, five Degas, and a Vermeer (one of only 34 surviving Vermeer’s works). To this day, the works have not been found.

A reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the recovery of the stolen artwork is being offered.

 

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