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The FBI has just released footage never before seen by the public that was taken the night before the infamous heist at the Gardner Museum.  They are asking the public’s help in identifying the person seen entering the museum as well as a car that is parked outside.  The footage is shaky and a bit hard to decipher, particularly as it was taken during the night.  Apparently the thieves took the security footage from the night of the heist, but did not steal the footage from the night before.  This footage shows the security guard on duty letting a strange man into the museum long after hours in an action that was unauthorized.  The FBI is speculating that this strange man, and the car parked outside, have something to do with the robbery given the unusual behavior, and they are hoping someone from the public can identify the man or the car.

It sounds good on paper, but here’s the problem.  The Gardner museum footage is twenty-five years old.  The FBI will be completely dependent upon not only someone being able to make out the features of the person in the very grainy video, but remember who that person is twenty-five years later.  The same goes for the car.  I’m not sure I could identify the cars my own parents were driving twenty-five years ago.

My question for the FBI is why did they wait twenty-five years before releasing this footage?  Are they depending less on the public and more on the hope that by releasing the footage the person in it will do something incriminating?  Is it an attempt to flush a rabbit out of a hole?  Because I can’t imagine that after a quarter of a century and with poor footage, the FBI could reasonably hope that someone in the public might recognize/remember something.  But I would be more than happy to be corrected, particularly if the footage provides the key to recovering the Gardner Museum artwork.