Like something out of a movie script, two thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the night of March 18, 1990 — after Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities — and stole several notable works with an estimated total of $300 million, according to investigators.
The phony police officers told the guard on duty that they were responding to a call, so the guard let the thieves in through the museum’s security door, the museum said. Once inside, the thieves told the guard to step away from the security desk because there was a warrant out for his arrest, the museum said. Once the guard left his post, the museum said, he couldn’t reach the alarm button.
The thieves told the guard to have the other guard on duty come to the security desk. Once the burglars had both guards together, they were handcuffed and brought into basement, the museum said.The thieves secured the guards to pipes by duct taping their hands, feet, and heads, according to the museum.
With the guards tied up in the basement, the burglars were able to roam the museum and make off with 13 works of art. Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” pictured here, is just one of them. Others include Rembrandt’s “A Lady and Gentleman in Black” and “Self-Portrait,” as well as Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert,” Govaert Flinck’s “Landscape with Obelisk” and Édouard Manet’s “Chez Tortoni.”