Gardner Bullets V: A Sealed Case
talk seriously now, and after over twenty years I think serious
discussion is overdue since many of the principles have passed away, and
if the few who are left go as well, they may take the secrets the
possess with them, such as where the stolen art is (and we do believe
the authorities know everything except WHERE the thirteen stolen items
ended up). Seriously, the Gardner Museum security at the time of the
robbery was a joke, so the museum administration and board members need
to be held accountable and owe something to the American art loving
people. They can rectify their negligence in the protection of our
national treasures by taking drastic actions to recover the stolen art
works. The head of security at the time of the robbery was incompetent
and the guards were
broken down valises who knew nothing about museum security. Why did
these guards get off the hook so easy? Burnout musicians who opened the
door to the museum even though the museum's policy clearly stated that
they should never open the door for anyone. The Gardner guards allowed
the robbers in and, after being duct taped up and secured to pipes in
the basement, slept comfortably. Does a reasonable citizen relax enough
to fall asleep into sweet dream land in this kind of situation while
going through this kind of horrible ordeal? Then, after being
discovered and liberated, these guards gave ridiculous descriptions to
the police which culminated in those terrible composite sketches.
recall (and refer to Gardner Bullets IV) that the Simmon's College
guard was completely in on the 1982 robbery. Supposedly, the people who
planned the Gardner heist never
knew about the place until the Simmons guard turned them on to the
score back in 1982, when he was covering for his pal at the Gardner
Museum (the guard at the Gardner, a musician, was at a gig and the
Simmon's guard was making his rounds).
Where are they now? The Simmons guard died in the motor cycle accident. One of the Gardner guards supposedly died in France. One
of the Gardner guards lived right around the corner from one of your
William Youngworth's Allston antique stores at the time of the robbery.
He allegedly was assaulted (reported recently in the Boston media) in
front of the Allston antiques store. I personally would like to find and
question all of the guards.
CVS: Why did Mashberg write about the guard living around the corner from the store on the twentieth anniversary of the heist?
CVS: During the negotiations with the Gardner
Admin and the authorities, negotiations that eventually failed, did the
authorities ask you to describe any of the circumstances of the theft?
How about the condition of of the paintings? Did they ask to describe
the backs, edges or under where the frame would hide?
seals are designed to be like a seal indicating the actual artworks
were original to the frames of that institution. Many museum collections
do this. Its sort of a security/integrity feature ensuring the art work
hadn’t been moneyed around with.
Gardner Bullets IV: Simmons College Robbery
This is a small excerpt of a much longer Your Brush With The Law exclusive interview that will be posted here in March for the anniversary of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery. This interview is going to reveal never before discussed details of the robbery and shed light onto the case.
CVS: Please shed light on the Simmons College robbery that occurred right across the street from the Gardner Museum eight years prior (1982) to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery.
CVS: You weren't doing anything illegal back then?
We got $500 a piece for our I.D. kit which were so good that they could take a call from a cop if someone got pulled over. We had made our equipment portable. We were using the same equipment Massachusetts DMV’s were using. We would rent hotel rooms never in the same place twice, call Joe’s guys and tell them where to come. We would make ten I.D. kits per session, collect our $5,000 and be gone. We did it a few times per week and making good money for back then....
WY: We first were walked through and shown the Gardner and we cased the museum a second time in 1986. Some guy that wasn’t in our crew got our ID cameras busted in a drug raid. He had been dealing coke right under our noses, which put our operation in jeapordy. He met this girl in a bar and brings her back to our safe house. One thing led to another, she saw too much, went to the cops and we lose all our equipment. During this same week we had a major ID order to fill. My other friend is this super connected guy in Boston and he put the world out we need Polariod 707 ID cameras and will pay $10,000 each for them. In less then two days we had a lead on some. They were in Simmons College in Boston.
WY: I did let it out when I was pleading with the Gardner to act fast because I was losing my toe hold on my ability to assist them without it becoming drastically more complicated. They didn’t listen. But your right it was basically brushed aside. Funny, I’ve never had to prove how guilty I was before! Each time we looked at the Gardner Museum, we were cautioned that some of the frames were very possibly wired into the alarms. There were a lot of unknowns we were waiting for answers on. Before those answers came I had gotten picked up on an old charge.
WY: Anyway, my friend’s contact was the night time guard of the Simmons. Since the plan would give us the control over the entire college we cleaned out their Audio Visual lab and got our hands on equipment we had been wanting to lay our hands on for years.
WY: Sure. The exact same way the Gardner Museum was in 1990. It was knock, knock, "open up it’s the police". "Were here over a distress call we received". It took four of us, including the guard about four hours to clean the place out. We had a connection that ran a large commercial division of a rental truck company and had to get the truck back by 6:30AM before the day shift showed up at 7:00AM. This was our first tour of the Gardner. Our guard and their’s were both musicans and social buddies. Truthfully I never knew about the place and it was the Simmons guard who turned us on to the score. We got in there that night after we got done at Simmons. We put a look out up the street and he gave us the all clear for us to take the truck from around back of Simmon’s loading dock, a few hundred feet down Palace Road and around the block re-connecting to Huntintgon Ave.
WY: Certainly we’ll get back to that but his statement was that uniformed Boston Police Officers had handcuffed him, took him down into a basement stairwell and re-handcuffed him to a railing.
WY: I actually believe that the original report was much more detailed. Actually I am certain of it. Our guard brought us a copy. We were actually using it as an information on the items we ended up selling and didn’t need. And your information about two paintings being cut from their frames is 100% correct. When our guard saw my friends ’passion’ for art he told us all about what was right next door.
WY: Heavens no! When I saw what he did I was very upset. These really weren’t that big a deal paintings. They weren’t worth much. Just two nice late 19th Century portraits of old faculty members. They were portraits of men and this is a women’s college. I recoiled when I saw what he had done. He didn’t really care and simply rolled them up. You know what, in re-telling that story I recall I never knew what happened to those paintings.
WY: That is correct.