Has Anyone Ever Been Arrested For The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist?

On March 18, 1990, "the single largest property theft in the world" took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Per the museum's website, two thieves dressed as police officers arrived at a side door in the very early morning hours and asked to be let in, as they were responding to a disturbance. They proceeded to handcuff the two guards on duty, wrap their heads and eyes in duct tape, and secure them in the museum basement before leaving 81 minutes later with 13 works of art, including Rembrandt's "Christ In The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Vermeer's "The Concert," Manet's "Chez Tortoni," five Degas drawings, and a bronze Napoleonic eagle filial.

Motion alarms recorded the movements of the criminals, but there was no footage to assist in identifying them. The FBI soon took over the case, as it was likely that the artworks would cross state lines. According to The Art Newspaper"Despite more than 30,000 leads, hunches, forensic tests, psychic visions, jail house confessions and hundreds of interviews with drug dealers, mobsters, retired police officers, journalists, museum directors, museum guards and art dealers in the US, Europe, Asia and South America, authorities are still no closer to knowing the whereabouts of the works." Per Artnet, suspect Daniel Turner served 21 years in prison for a separate robbery. He was offered a shorter sentence if he aided authorities in solving the crime, but Turner denied having anything to do with the Gardner heist. No one has been arrested.

One remaining person of interest

Robert Gentile, 87, of Manchester, Connecticut, is thought to be the last living person of interest in the case. Per ABC's WCVB, Gentile has denied knowing anything about the heist. Federal authorities insist he's lying. Gentile was identified by Elena Guarante, the wife of the late Bobby Guarante, another person of interest and known associate of organized crime. Elena claimed she witnessed her husband hand off some of the art to Gentile. Gentile called the accusation "an out and out lie." 

The FBI searched Gentile's home with special radar equipment in 2012. According to The Art Newspaper, authorities found "guns, drugs ... police hats, badges and a list of the stolen Gardner works with possible black market prices." Geoffrey Kelly, the FBI's lead investigator on the case since 2002, said, "If Gentile told us everything he knows, we'd be further along on our recovery efforts." He added, "I believe that some of the paintings have changed hands several times over the years. It's also quite possible that some people have those paintings and don't know what they have."

Per the Gardner Museum, there's a $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of all 13 works of art, with a separate $100,000 reward for the Napoleonic filial. Old Masters expert and Sotheby's employee Otto Naumann told The Art Newspaper that the art is altogether worth at least $1 billion.

Netflix will begin streaming a four-part docuseries on the theft, titled This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist, on Wednesday, April 7.