Gardner Museum Heist


The Gardner Museum Heist

Michelle Armas, Staff Writer

The biggest heist in the world occurred on March 18, 1990; the Gardner Museum heist. The thieves successfully pulled off a very bold and risky plan to obtain $500 million dollars. Possibly the most risky part was that the thieves broke in while the museum was in the midst of a security update.

The thieves were tracked in a few different rooms but the most notorious being the Dutch Room where the thieves successfully cut out a few portraits and paintings from their frames where they would then end up moving on to the blue room. 

With that said the first floor of the museum didn’t catch their movement yet a piece was stolen there and a few minutes before the thieves entered, security guard Abath was tracked walking in the first floor. Meaning someone knew they were coming in and purposely turned off the first floor alarms or it was just some faulty wiring. You can only have so many coincidences.

Camera Footage of the Gardner Musuem

Let’s talk about how these duffaces got in the museum in the first place. These two men dressed up as cops because breaking into a museum and stealing $500 million dollars isn’t bad enough now they are getting political with it. The men buzzed the door which led to the security control room with security guard Abath. The importance behind this security control desk is the fact that this desk has the only button or alarm that would notify the actual police. Every museum disturbance goes to the guards and then the guards deal with it, if you get a security guard away from their control desk it’s an immediate even playing field. So the “guards” buzzed Bath and told him that they were responding to a disturbance call which didn’t seem too far off from the truth based on the fact that there were a bunch of saint patrick’s day parades nearby and those are known to get rowdy, so he buzzed them in. Abath recalls that he did this because he didn’t want to get arrested because he had a grateful dead concert later that night, I mean this guy has the right thoughts but just about the worst execution I think I have ever seen.
With that said, he let the “guards” in which broke protocol. The second the thieves were in the control room they asked Abath to stand up so they could get a better look at him cause they had threatened a warrant for his arrest. After doing this Abath recalls that he found it odd he wasn’t being frisked beforehand. It suddenly hit him that this could be a robbery.

After this beautiful moment of realization these three shared the second guard walked into the control room and was also “arrested”. When asked why he was being arrested the robbers responded with “I’m not arresting you, I’m robbing you. Don’t give us any trouble and you won’t get hurt.” The second guard responded with “Don’t worry, they don’t pay me enough to get hurt.’ 

The unidentified subject

I mean it’s clear to see that these aren’t the best guards but it’s almost hard to not blame the actual museum itself for hiring them. I can only think if they were this honest to police about what had happened they had to be this honest in the interview. Moving onto the most believed theory, this theory is that this was an inside job. This theory leans on the idea that the security guard Abath had something to do with it. The night before the heist, Abath is seen on camera breaking protocol and letting an unidentified man into the building. The identity of this man to this day is still unknown because Abath said he doesn’t even remember letting someone in regardless of the video evidence. 

The reason why he might not remember? He always showed up to the museum for his shift either drunk or stoned, he was in a band and would come to work after performances and stated he “just wanted to slow down before returning to the most boring job in the world”. I mean A+ for honesty but this guy shouldn’t be working as a security guard if he’s constantly showing up stoned like just quit at that point man. Also, how does he not remember letting this guy in? He said it himself this was the most boring job in the world so how would he not be able to recall the first action that has happened in months.

 The reason this is so significant is because that man that walked into the museum the night before could have easily been one of the intruders scoping out the place for their robbery the next day. Also adding to this theory when guard Abath was questioned about the identity of the thieves he said he could not remember what they looked like even though they weren’t wearing masks. 

The empty frames

So with all this said it’s pretty clear this could have easily been an inside job, the current stance on the case is waiting for more information and no one has been charged with anything in fact the museum stated that whoever returns the artworks in perfect shape won’t even be questioned. The frames without their paintings are still hung at the museum hoping and waiting for their paintings to return. What happened to Abath you might ask? He didn’t end up going to the Grateful Dead concert sadly.