I binge-watched the rest of the episodes of This is a Robbery while recovering from the side effects of the COVID vaccine – dose two. There is a possibility that I wasn’t entirely paying attention since my mind was in a fog and my body was playing tricks on me. (Hot? Cold? Both?) The series only has four episodes, and they’re about an hour-long—enough back and forth about the mafia, the FBI, and thieves. Wait… is this still about art?
It was amusing to learn that the heist was not small when it came to the extent of the mafia’s involvement. I guess that’s what makes it big, still not the world’s biggest if you ask me. The gist of the series, which I would suggest watching, is that two individuals dressed as Boston cops got away with stealing 13 pieces of art from the Isabel Gardner museum on March 18th, 1990.
In the first episode, it seemed like an inside job involving one of the security guards and two robbers. It was funny to see how many of the interviewees were throwing the “hippie” security guard under the bus by pointing out all this funny business he was doing, especially on that night. The series took a turn, where the witnesses were pointing out things that were fishy about the police, like missing evidence and inaccurate descriptions of the robbers. That does seem to be quite fishy.
The FBI was interested in a known art thief/ local rock and roll singer who had stolen from another location. Yet the kicker was that he was in prison when the Gardner museum robbery happened. So, he had a break, sort of; he was in jail after all.
Then the next couple of episodes was like watching the Goodfellas. Apparently, there was a crew of mobsters run by a Godfather-type figure who was into thefts, petty crimes, and possible murders. Many of them were in and out of jail. One by one, the FBI watched and followed them. Nothing much turned up, and it didn’t help that slowly they all died mainly by homicide.
In the end, the paintings supposedly ended up floating around between Maine and Connecticut. One of the leads took the FBI back to the art thief and an associate of his, who claimed to know where the art pieces were. He had a game with the press and FBI, where he would send pictures to the media, and he actually took one of the reporters to a warehouse and showed him a painting.
This is where things get foggy for me, and perhaps it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the COVID vaccine side effects. I thought for a moment; the FBI found the art; they’re going to bust down the doors of that warehouse and confiscate everything. Yet, it didn’t happen. There was nothing there, all gone.
There was yet another lead that took the FBI to another mobster; well, he was actually a wanna-be who cooked for them. They loved his special marinara sauce, which might have been a truth serum because the mobsters would tell him all their dirty little secrets. This made him very desirable to the FBI. Ultimately, the FBI raided his house but came up with nothing – again.
That was the last big lead, until 2013 when the FBI claimed that they knew the names of the robbers of the Isabel Gardener museum. It seemed like there was more movement happening with the case. The funny thing is, they never mentioned the names. Names can’t be said on an ongoing case. After that there was nothing else. The reward still stands at $10 million, and the FBI incessantly receives tips from all over the world.
Maybe the use of social media would help to find the art. I’d hate to think it’s all gone forever.