An empty frame in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where a pilfered Manet (Chez Tortoni, ca. 1878–1880) once sat. Photo: M. Scott Brauer / New York Times.

$10 Million Reward for Information about Gardner Museum Heist to be Halved in 2018

The $10 million reward for information regarding the theft of thirteen artworks and objects—among them pieces by Rembrandt, Degas, Vermeer, and a Napoleonic finial—from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, will be reduced to $5 million on January 1, 2018, writes Katharine Q. Seelye of the New York Times. The award was temporarily doubled by the museum in May of this year. The heist, which took place on March 18, 1990, is considered one of the largest art thefts in US history. The stolen pieces are estimated to be worth $500 million in total.

Though no one’s ever stepped forward with information about the burglary, the FBI made an announcement in 2013 saying that it knew the identities of the thieves. Their names, however, were never given—and later the organization said they had all died. Eighty-one-year old Robert V. Gentile, an alleged mobster, is said to be the last living person to have knowledge about the objects’ whereabouts; but Gentile’s lawyer says that’s not true.

Anthony Amore, the director of security at the Gardner, has created an elaborate database for the theft. It has 30,000 pieces of information, including names, addresses, and phone and license plate numbers considered relevant to the case. He feels that a credible informant might contact the museum only moments before the deadline. “I’ve spent more than a decade preparing for any scenario,” he said. “I’m very ready.”