Gardner Museum Heist – FBI Folly Forgetting First Facts and Following Fake Footprints. 2 of 4

Hoover with Machine GunTo understand how the FBI’s investigation of the Gardner theft has gone so amok you must know a few basic truths about these professional criminals which the FBI would have learned had it had a few street-type people in its midst.

First, No one is going to do a heavy bit if he can avoid it by giving up something or someone. The FBI in its every day dealings puts the screws to captured hoodlums. It tells them they can get a break if they cooperate. Somehow, though, it does not accept this as a universal principle. Second, the more criminals that know about a crime the greater the likelihood of discover. Third, a low life criminal’s stock in trade is lies and cons. They are expert at it because being a good liar is often necessary to survival in that life. Nothing one of that ilk’s statements should be believed without substantial corroboration.

Those are the three fundamental understandings any FBI agent who deals with life long criminals must understand.

There are specific things that should have been obvious to the FBI from the first day it entered into its investigation of the Gardner heist. First, the Gardner was hit by people who had a specific goals – the items taken were not taken willy-nilly but were selected even though one or two were taken to throw off the hounds. Second, no one hits an art museum aiming for select items without having a fence lined up to get rid of them. Finally, the job was done by professional art thieves not drug dealers or bank robbers or run-of-the-mill hoodlums.

Look at it this way. Had it been done by amateurs they would have quickly learned there was no way to get rid of the art. It was too hot for anyone to take. The only use for the art they would be to incriminate the thieves.  They would have destroyed them by burning or into a landfill.

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Let’s examine the history of the Gardner theft which took place on March 18, 1990. Here is a fine article written seven and a half years after the event. It is called “The Great Art Caper.” It includes statements from the FBI agent, Dan Falzon, who had been assigned to the case from the beginning.

Agent Falzon knows what he is talking about. He spells out some of the different possible reasons for the heist.  He then adds: “With all the people we know in and out of prison, we’ve never got a quality piece of information that indicates this is it, this is who did it. We’ve had everybody and his brother say they know who did it, and none of it has led to anyone’s going to prison or any of the art going back on the walls.”

Nothing has changed since that time. What the FBI knew then it knows now. Only it has forgotten what it was told then and has gone off on a wild goose chase courtesy of the one real art thief Myles Connor it relied on to give it some information.

The article mentioned tells about Myles Connor Boston’s infamous art thief. He immediately comes under suspicion of being involved in it the robbery because he has stolen art work in the past. He ineptly got grabbed by the FBI trying to sell some so he stole others and used them as a bargaining chip to get a deal on his original case.

Connor at the time of the Gardner job has a good alibi that eliminates him as the thief. He is in prison. When in desperation he is approached by the FBI seeking information he avers he knows who did the heist. He names Bobby Donati and David Houghton two hoodlums he knows.

He then says something that should have cast serious doubt on what he was saying. Then the article notes:“Connor says Donati, who, he assumes, hired two mugs to actually carry out the theft, initially intended to use the loot as a bargaining chip, though he won’t say for what.”  (continued tomorrow) 

6 thoughts on “Gardner Museum Heist – FBI Folly Forgetting First Facts and Following Fake Footprints. 2 of 4

  1. Matt,…

    REALLLLLLY…???

    That’s it…..?

    THAT? is your offering as the second of a four-parter on the largest unsolved property crime in US history……….c’mon….

    I know you can’t offer many facts on this one,……but at least how about a little more opinion…………seems like you mailed it in today. I hope you have something better planned for Parts 3 & 4……..no reason why you couldn’t have kept going on this one.

    Just sayin’……

  2. Matt,
    Sorry to be a pest today…..but…..your hyperlink leads to…. “Error 404 – Not Found”

    I guess I can google it.

    Feel free to add to Part 2 any time you want today…..

    It just occurred to me that you might be out enjoying the weather…..outstanding day today….so if you are,….enjoy yourself……and don’t worry about it,……but if you are puttering around the house, getting in your wife’s way…..get back on that computer…… : )

  3. One of many, many possibilities for what has gone on during the past four years was that sometime between February 2012 (when suspicions of Gentile first went public) and March 2013 (the time of what seemed like a “first and goal” press conference by Gardner Heist investigators) someone falsely presented themselves as an “honest broker” of the stolen Gardner art, someone who, through a few quirks of circumstance, was fated with having this honest broker role thrust upon them.

    The broker perhaps authenticated their ability to serve in this capacity, with inside information about the paintings not available to the public. It was shortly after this period, after all, that the FBI announced it had “confirmed sightings” of the art.

    Perhaps taking advantage of the suspicions of Gentile, which first came to public light in Febraury of 2012, the broker made an approach with a fabricated a backstory, complete with the names of the (dead) people who did it, as well as people and travels that were consistent with Robert Gentile having had a plausible opportunity to get control of the paintings.

    Without explicitly saying he was working for Gentile, the broker maybe gave off the impression or did nothing to dissuade the Investigators from thinking that this was the case. Maybe someone decided that suspicion of Gentile created a window of opportunity to make an approach in the first place, without giving away too much about the real who-and-where of the paintings’ current status.

    Maybe the broker observed that the authorities were not bargaining in good faith, or maybe the investigators came to suspect that the broker was not a broker at all but actually THE primary stakeholder. Or maybe they just haven’t been able to agree upon terms yet.

    In the meantime, efforts continue to get the art back through investigative methods, maybe.

    Anything’s possible.

  4. Thank you,….sir……for positing a propitious and pragmatic postulation, in preference of our passionless, principal pacesetter……..

    Matt,….better get the grill started……not sure about you, …..but I only use charcoal or wood myself,….gives a much better taste to the meat…..

    ; )

  5. “I was a capo in the Philadelphia family, but I was the boss in Boston,” he said, “My main business up there was loan sharking, bookmaking, extortion and drugs.” Esposito told Fox25’s Bob Ward that he didn’t take part in the historic Gardner heist, but in 1997 he found out his crew member, Bobby Guarante, did.

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