American History’s Biggest Art Theft Hits 25 Years Unsolved

TIME

It was the morning of March 18, 1990 — exactly 25 years ago — when a security guard at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum got a nasty surprise. Hours earlier, thieves dressed as police officers had entered the museum, immobilized the security guards with duct tape, removed 13 works from their places and got away. Those works, including several Rembrandts and Vermeer’s The Concert, are valued by the FBI at a combined $500 million, making it the largest single property crime in the nation’s history.

A quarter-century later, the crime remains unsolved — but, as interest in the anniversary emerges, so have clues.

Even though the criminals appeared to have gotten away scot-free, the clues have been trickling in since the very beginning. Most of the works, per TIME’s original coverage of the theft, are not especially significant ones, which indicated from the start that the thieves were no…

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