On the 18-year anniversary of the infamous heist of 13 masterpieces from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Director of Security Anthony Amore is still holding out hope for a full recovery — which can earn a successful tipster $5 million.
“It is important that people know that the reward is real — that the museum is eager to pay this reward, and the trustees are serious about it.” Amore tells the Boston Herald. “I know one thing: I am not going to be able to recover these paintings on my own, in a vacuum, sitting here in an office. I need the collective intelligence of people from around the world.”
The thieves removed works of art whose value has been estimated from $300-500 million. They include Rembrandt’s only known seascape, “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”; “The Concert,” one of only 34 known Vermeers in the world; a series of drawings by Edgar Degas; works by Manet, Rembrandt and Flinck; and two objects, a finial from a Napoleonic flag and a Chinese Ku, or beaker.
Amore is trying to encourage someone to come forward with information by ensuring anonymity — with a dedicated e-mail address for the heist (firstname.lastname@example.org). “When people send me e-mails I’m not interested in trying to track that person, I’m interested in following the lead,” he tells the newspaper. “I compile all this on a computer, and all of these tips are projected against the total picture that I have in my database and in my memory.”
Amore and the FBI are looking for two suspects who dressed as security guards the night of March 18, 1990. The men knew what they were doing — in about an hour, they dismantled surveillance cameras, tied up the security guards and actually cut the paintings out of their frames to make a quick getaway.
“I just want to see the paintings returned. I don’t care who gets the credit. I believe that they will be returned to their rightful place,” Amore says. “People from the press, the general public — even the criminal world — they have all told me it’s time that these paintings are back where they belong.”
Amore took the reins as security director at the museum in 2005. Prior, Amore served with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as a key advisor to the Federal Security Director at Logan International Airport in Boston, where he oversaw the training, equipping and deployment of more than 1,000 federal screeners and the implementation of a baggage screening program as part of the federal response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Boston Herald has launched a Web site dedicated to compiling information about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist at www.bostonherald.com/gardnerheist, which will be updated regularly.
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