In March 1990, two men pulled off an art heist worth $500 million at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The story of the theft and the investigation around it are the focus of a new Netflix true crime documentary titled This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist.
The series, which is broken down in four parts, will premiere on the streaming platform on April 7.
Thirty years on, the crime remains unsolved. What is known, however, is how the works of art were stolen. In the early hours of March 18, 1990, the pair of thieves were able to enter the museum by dressing up as police officers and pretending to respond to a disturbance call inside. The men then tied up the guards and proceeded to steal 13 artworks from the museum over the next hour.
The show’s title comes from a line uttered by one of the thieves to the guards: “Gentlemen, this is a robbery.”
Works stolen include paintings by Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. In total, the value of the stolen goods amounted to half a billion dollars.
Since the incident, a $10 million reward is on offer for anyone who can provide information leading to the return of the works.
Theories abound regarding who is behind the operation, including suspicions around organised crime such as the Italian mafia and Irish mob, with speculation that they might use the artworks as currency or as a bargaining tool for legal immunity.
Over the years, mysterious deaths surrounding two suspects identified by the FBI in 2013 have only added to speculation regarding the people behind the plot.
Created by Colin Barnicle and Nick Barnicle, brothers behind sports film Glory Days, the series is backed by producers Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh, who have worked on The Irishman and When They See Us.