FBI Releases Security Footage of Possible ‘Dry Run’ Before Gardner Museum Heist

The Gardner Museum.

The FBI has released a reel of grainy, black-and-white security footage on their YouTube page today from the notorious Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist, which occurred March 18, 1990.

According to a statement released in conjunction with the video, which shows an older-looking man with glasses and suspenders lingering by the museum’s reception desk, “law enforcement officials are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an unauthorized visitor who entered the museum through the same door as the thieves 24 hours before the heist.”

In addition to the unidentified man, the video also has very dark footage of car headlights pulling up outside the museum. A shadowy figure can also be seen emerging from the vehicle, which matches the description of a car seen outside the museum on the night of the heist.

The video is dated March 17, 1990 at approximately 12:49 a.m.—almost exactly the same time the museum was robbed the following day. The video surveillance film from the evening of the robbery was, of course, seized by the thieves prior to their departure.

The Gardner Museum.

The Gardner Museum gardens.

Authorities are currently looking into whether or not the footage may reveal a dry run for the famous heist, reports the Boston Globe. The next day, thieves dressed as police officers entered the museum, bound the two guards on duty with duct tape, and proceeded to steal approximately $500 million worth of art.

“With the public’s help, we may be able to develop new information that could lead to the recovery of these invaluable works of art,” said United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz in a statement.

It remains to be seen whether anyone will be able to ID the Keyser Söze-like bespectacled gentleman lingering by the desk, based on the poor quality and angle of the footage.

Related stories: 

See Stolen Gardner Museum Artworks Online, Thanks to Google Art Project

The Gardner Museum’s Roofs Are Leaky, Jeopardizing Art

Boston Mobster Says FBI Harassed Him for Info on Gardner Museum Heist

Former Swindler “Turbo Paul” Hendry Tells All About Art Theft

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