The 25th anniversary of the infamous Isabella Stewart Gardner heist was just last week, but there is still little news about the fate of the paintings and other items stolen. The New York Times published a very interesting article about the heist, and includes some new information about the potential perpetrators of the theft. For years rumors circulated about the fate of the paintings, including ties Whitey Bulger, foreign mobs, and even that they had been stolen to fund the Irish Republican Army (the IRA was supposedly obsessed with Vermeer). According to the article, however, the perpetrators were a bit more homegrown, and included members of a mafia group located in Boston. Further, it claims that some of the works may be located as close as Philadelphia and Maine.
It would not be surprising it they were in fact right under our Boston-region noses. And it also would not be surprising if it takes decades (if not longer) to recover them. After all, Gurlitt lived in an urban area and managed to keep 1200+ masterpieces a secret in his apartment for decades. Perhaps some day in the future, the items stolen in the Gardner heist will reappear in someone’s apartment, perhaps even not that far from Boston.