Media campaign planned for Gardner heist investigation
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Are federal investigators getting closer to solving a 22-year-old art heist mystery?
The FBI is preparing to launch a public awareness campaign in an effort to find the 13 masterpieces stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.
“Why not try, might work,” said one man.
“I suppose it’s possible somebody’s house cleaner might see something and call the number at the bottom of the screen, that would be kind of neat,” said a man.
The campaign may include billboards and advertisements, and could go international, as investigators try to reintroduce the public to the missing artworks of Rembrandt, Degas, and Manet, among others.
The media blitz would be similar to the one the FBI launched last year that successfully led to the arrest of James “Whitey” Bulger, though not everyone agrees this attempt will do any good.
“I don’t think that alerting the public particularly again and again is going to make that much of a difference because whoever did it obviously has very good cover,” said a woman.
While none of the paintings have been found it seems there has been progress made in the investigation. In the past year investigators search the homes of two men believed to have known one of the original suspects -- a Dorchester crime boss.
A federal informant told authorities that the crime boss had been negotiating a return of the paintings with the FBI but he never did and died in prison seven years ago.
The ad campaign will keep the momentum going and visitors to the museum hope it will lead to the return of the missing pieces.
“I’d flock to the museum and see what was missing all these years, but I’d still flock to the museum to see the things that are still there,” said a man.
Investigators are offering a $5 million reward for the return of the $500 million worth of paintings.
Investigators do seem to be cautiously optimistic that the paintings will be found; at a recent lecture, the Gardner Museum's head of security said the search is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but a haystack that gets smaller and smaller with each new piece of information.