FBI identifies thieves involved in 1990 Gardner Museum heist

BOSTON (ACNI) — The FBI has positively identified the thieves who stole art valued at up to $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. One was a local troublemaker known to police. The other was an ex-con who previously was convicted of first-degree murder but “walked” when his attorney, now-Secretary of State John Kerry, got the conviction overturned in 1982.

Breitbart News reports that the two career criminals who committed the historic crime included Kerry’s client, a notorious hoodlum named George Reissfelder; and a Vietnam vet and local thug named Lenny DiMuzio. Both men died within one year of the museum heist. DiMuzio was murdered in a gangland hit; Reissfelder died of a drug overdose that some investigators viewed was suspicious.

In a March 18 Associated Press article, Richard DesLauriers, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Boston, said the thieves belonged to a criminal organization based in New England the Mid-Atlantic states. He said authorities believed the art was taken to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region in the years after the theft, and offered for sale in Philadelphia about a decade ago.

Authorities say two other men may have been involved with the heist: Boston gangster Carmelo Merlino and another suspect, Robert Guarente. Both are deceased.

On March 18, 1990, two men disguised as police officers gained access to the Gardner Museum. Once inside, they tied up the security guards and proceeded to steal 13 paintings, including rare works by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer, with a total estimated value of $500 million. The case represents the largest property crime in U.S. history.

A $5 million reward is offered for information leading to the return of the stolen art. The FBI, with the help of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office, has posted videos on social media sites and initiated a digital billboard campaign in the Philadelphia region.

Anyone with information concerning the works of art taken in the museum heist, or the circumstances of the theft itself, is urged to contact their local FBI field office or nearest US Embassy or Consulate. Tips may be submitted online at https://tips.fbi.gov .

# # #

Copyright 2015 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This information may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission of the copyright holder.