FBI makes new push to solve biggest art theft in US history

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Twenty years after two thieves walked into a Boston museum and pulled off the biggest art theft in history, investigators are making a renewed effort to recover a haul valued at up to $500 million (£330 million).

The fate of the 13 paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet has remained a mystery and a topic of feverish speculation in the art world since they were stolen in the early hours of March 18, 1990, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Exploiting the museum’s light security, the thieves – dressed as police officers – bound and gagged the two inexperienced guards.

They then spent 81 minutes moving through the galleries at a leisurely pace, selectively removing paintings, none of which was attached to alarms.

They took five works by Degas and three by Rembrandt, cutting some of the largest pieces from their frames.

The most valuable picture stolen was Vermeer’s The Concert, one of only 36 known works by the Dutch master and valued at more than $250 million.

Speculation about the thieves’ identity has ranged from opportunistic local crooks to a notorious Boston crime lord and even IRA gun runners. The FBI has now resubmitted DNA samples for updated testing....

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