Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Aug 16, 2011

On March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as police officers entered Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole thirteen works of art, including paintings by Vermeer, Degas, Manet, three by Rembrandt, and others. It is the largest single property theft in recorded history, with an estimated total value of $500 million. To this day, none of the works have been recovered, and the case remains a top priority of the FBI Art Recovery Squad. Of the $6 billion dollars worth of art that museums and collectors lose to theft annually, Rembrandt holds the record of the most stolen work of all time. With the “Takeaway Rembrandt,” Jacob de Gheyn (1932), having been stolen four times alone, why is it that Rembrandt is so popular among the thieves? Reporters Anthony Amore, who is also head of security and art investigative recovery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Tom Mashberg, who was taken by car to an undisclosed warehouse and shown what appeared to be Gardner’s stolen Rembrandt’s "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee," join Patt to describe the most shocking and intricately-worked out robberies of the world’s most tightly-guarded museums.

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