Gardner Museum Heist: 27th Anniversary Story: The True Story; Not the FBI’s One: 4/8

Gardner MuseumKelly went on to say when they realized that they would decided to “wait until the heat dies down” before selling them. Even the dumbest criminals recognizing their predicament would know there was no way to get rid of the stuff.  I’d suggest they’d know that the heat would not die down until Hell froze over which would be a long time to wait.  Logically, if the FBI was right about this it should have recognized the art work was destroyed a long time ago.

The FBI convinced itself it was some local hoodlums in Boston who did it. Boston being a very parochial city has difficulty thinking about the world beyond it. With that in mind it had as much chance of finding it as locating the thief who stole the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The thief who first came to mind was Myles Connor. He was doing ten years in a mid-West prison so it reasoned he did not pull the heist. Yet, it figured he might know something about it and, as you would expect, Myles would not let it down.

Myles, by the way, was a long time art thief and gifted artist who called himself “the king of rock and roll.” I never met him but did meet his father who was a Milton police officer who was the court prosecutor for that town in the Quincy court. He told me how for a while he had not been feeling well so he went to the doctor. He had a blood test and was told he had high levels of arsenic in his blood. He soon discovered that his son Myles and his wife were putting arsenic in his coffee to try to kill him. Myles would later describe his father as “perhaps the only truly honorable person that I have ever known in law enforcement.”  Was that why he tried to murder him?

Anyway even though Myles could not have pulled off the robbery he pointed to two people who he said did for the purpose of using the stolen items as bargaining chips in exchange for getting Myles out of prison. They both happened to be dead: Robert “Bobby” Donati and David Houghton. (How come these guys pin things on dead people all the time. Do you think they know the libel laws?)  Donati, 50, was found stabbed to death in the trunk of a car a year and a half after the heist.  Houghton, 52, who weighed 350 pounds died of a coronary condition in the spring of 1992.

Hardly the type to do the heist and if they did who did they give the art work to or was it buried with them. The big problem with these guys being involved is that others would have known about it. These would have included FBI informants. It would not have remained a secret.

Donati was a Mafia guy. Had he been involved it would have been bartered for some deal a long time ago.  Keep in mind the notoriety of the theft just about prevented it from being fenced.

The head of the New England Mafia, Frank Salemme, would certainly have bargained to get a deal if he knew. He didn’t because as noted before he cooperated with the FBI to get a deal.  Vinny “the Animal” Ferrara of the rival Mafia faction doing heavy time would also have used the stuff in exchange for a deal. None ever did. Also neither Donati or Houghton had any known knowledge of art. How would they have made the type of selection that was made?

Then the names Billy Youngworth comes up. He supposedly received the art work from Donati or Houghton and was holding it for Myles and hid it in a warehouse but the trail ends there. The problem with all these stories is none of the art has surfaced. Youngworth convinced a newspaper reporter that he had the goods. At the time my office was prosecuting Youngworth for having stolen property. He was looking to get out from under our charge. We played it straight and he did time. Nothing ever came of his having the goods.