While the FBI has announced it now knows who’s behind one of the biggest art heists in history, there are a couple of things impeding their pursuit of the suspects. In 1990, two men dressed as Boston police officers broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tied up the watchmen on duty, and made off with 13 works of art – valued at $500 million.
The FBI, who did not reveal the names of the suspects, is prevented from pursuing charges against the men as the statute of limitations has run out. The statute of limitations sets out time limits for pursuing legal action after an event has occurred. Additionally, the FBI still doesn’t know where the missing artwork might be.
The cache, which includes paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Manet, was apparently taken to both Connecticut and Philadelphia. The thieves unsuccessfully tried to sell some of the pieces in the Philadelphia area about 10 years ago.
While charges could be brought against whoever holds the stolen artwork now, the FBI did suggest the possibility of immunity for anyone willing to come forward and reveal their part in keeping the artwork hidden.
For the time being, empty frames continue to hang in the places of the stolen works in the museum’s Dutch Room. The FBI is reminding people of the $5 million reward for tips that lead to the recovery of the works in good condition. US Attorney Carmen Oritz says she remains “optimistic that one day soon the paintings will be returned to their rightful place.”