In an Unusual Crime, Someone Threw a Stolen Painting Into the Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is known by many as the victim of history’s most famous art heist after two thieves made off with half a billion dollars’ worth of art from its galleries three decades ago in a still-unsolved crime. In a bizarre turn of events, the Gardner now finds itself indirectly connected to another, comparatively low-stakes theft after a man broke into the museum this weekend and threw a stolen painting inside.

The suspect, Robert Viens, a 48-year-old man from Randolph, attempted to break the glass of an emergency door on Saturday morning, causing the door to open. He tossed a package into the museum and fled on a bicycle. The mysterious object turned out to be a painting from the nearby Arden Gallery that has been identified as stolen.

It is unclear how or why Viens came into possession of the work, but he has been arrested on charges including receiving stolen property over $1,200 from Arden Gallery and vandalizing the gallery during an incident on January 11, according to the Boston Globe. (Gallery owner Zola Solamente declined to comment at this time, citing an ongoing investigation.)

Nothing was taken from the museum and no one was injured during the break-in, according to reports. “Museum Security acted quickly to prevent entry or further damage, and first responders from the Boston Police and Fire Departments responded and secured the scene and evidence,” the museum told the Globe.

The Gardner has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.


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Author: Valentina Di Liscia