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GARDNER THEFT: 15 YEARS LATER

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Sunday, March 18, 1990 is a famous date. On that day, the biggest art heist in U.S. history occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with over $300 million in paintings lost. Works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Manet and Degas, along with several other valuable and irrepacable works, were stolen. To this day it is regarded as a fascinating and tragic moment in Boston history.

At the heart of the recent controversy around the stolen art is William Youngworth, who has been portrayed in the press as a central figure in the theft. Boston Herald reporter Tom Mashberg has claimed that Youngworth sent him to a warehouse where he witnessed one of the missing works: the famed Rembrandt painting "Christ In A Storm On The Sea Of Galilee".

Recently, Mr. Youngworth wrote to Big RED & Shiny, stating that he has been mis-represented. After much consideration, Big RED has offered Mr. Youngworth an opportunity to state his case, and present his side of the story and the subsequent interpretations of the Boston press. Below is his view, in his own words, offered to enlighten any discussion around the stolen artworks of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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The most recently 're-newed' efforts by the Gardner Museum to recover their former property is this week's request was for the person who reached out to them in 1994 contact them again. Like 1994 was the only time??? Please! [1]

Is it because that person offered just enough of their neck to get it whacked off by demonstrating control? Allow me to be so bold as to make another prediction, like I did after they lowered the boom on me in 1997. That was their last chance. They carved the olive branch to a fine point and stuck it in my eye. The author they seek has passed away.

Mr. Kurkjian's feature was very interesting. While I don't care for Mr. Kurkjian after his bullying tactics of March 2004, you cannot take away from the fact that he is smart with a lot of feds whispering things in his ears that other reporters would die for. But he works for The Boston Globe which has some editorial integrity, most the time.

Then, of course, not to be out-done by the Globe (the very Globe that fired him for same reasons the Herald hired him), we hear from Tom Mashberg. The very same reporter that gave us the sensational summer of 1997 with banner headlines of "We've seen it". That was the tale where I supposedly took him to a warehouse and showed him the Storm On The Sea Of Galilee. Hey Tom, where did all that happen again?

Mr. Mashberg gives the public some tripe about another cell-mate tale. I guess he hasn't learned his lesson about cell-mate's with tales to tell. Poor Tom. Ever since he got tossed out of the Gardner car he's been pouring the nasties on me. Tom, we can't hear your tinhorn out here.

I haven't settled on the title of my book yet. Either Dirty Pictures or Tom's Tinhorn.

You would think those con artists would have packed it in by now. Just last week I received an approach from a party in Las Vegas offering to place Five Million in a Hong Kong Bank for me. So I sniff at the bait. In the story this person fobs herself off as a Las Vegas art dealer with a line like she is Julia Roberts in Ocean's 11. When I tell her how the process starts to even see if the new owners want to sell their new acquisitions back, the scam wore its tread off real quick.

The "art dealer" turns out to be a Las Vegas Dominatrix who's claim to fame was some lie she skillfully crafted about having Bill Bennet as one of her 'clients'. I've had some funny scams run on me but this was the best yet. Check out this "art dealer" at their website. Too funny. When I give him/her the "run along" I get a nasty diatribe and how she was going to my old sell-out lawyer and go around me with a crew doing 30 years in a Federal Prison. The same crew who the FBI said was plotting to kidnap my little boy to get at the Gardner stash. Sounds like they have it, huh? But because it is me and a flea has more rights in the Commonwealth then my family has, conspiracy to kidnap a little boy for a 300 million dollar ransom is fluffed off.

Trust me. No one on the face of God's earth wishes the 1994 author could write back more than me and a little boy.

Well who knows. Maybe the Gardner will get lucky and someone is hard-up enough to chase that fake reward. When one of their Trustees turned over my sincere personal letter to a Tabloid for publication last year my debt to him was settled. All he had to do was send a post card to a P.O. Box saying "yes" and he would have been talking to the people he needs to talk to now.

As for me. I found a woman who loves me. My little boy is growing into a fine man. Our life is nice and private. We have a beautiful home full of love and the Gardner can do their Blanche DuBouir act again next year.

Sorry everyone. I did my best but the frauds of the Fenway make too much off this thing to wrap it up. Hell, half of those things were misattributed to start with. I am left with one question from Mr. Kurkjian's feature: How did the robber know the security console so well? He knows, but not telling goes with the deal he made for what he got.

[1] "Gardner Museum Seeks Tips On Thefts", The Boston Globe, March 14, 2005


Links to articles about the Gardner Museum theft and William Youngworth:
Big RED & Shiny news item - "New Leads In Art's Biggest Whodunnit" - BRS #2
The Boston Globe - "New theory airs on Gardner museum theft" By Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian
Court TV's CrimeLibrary.com - "The Biggest U.S. Art Theft"
The Boston Phoenix - "Don't Quote Me -We've Seen It!" by Dan Kennedy
The Boston Herald - "Documents show Gardner gadfly was informant" By Tom Mashberg
The Guardian - "The Art of the Heist"
CNN - "The Gardner Museum Heist"

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website
Information from the Gardner Museum regarding the theft and reward for the return of stolen artwork


Images of Vermeer and Rembrandt found using Google Image Search.


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