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Boston museum doubles reward for stolen artwork to $10M

Associated Press logo Associated Press 5/23/2017

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston museum has doubled its reward to $10 million for information that leads to the return of 13 works of art stolen more than two decades ago in the largest art heist in U.S. history.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's board of trustees announced the increase Tuesday.

"It is our fervent hope that by increasing the reward, our resolve is clear that we want the safe return of the works to their rightful place and back in public view," said Steve Kidder, president of the museum's board.

Two men dressed in Boston police uniforms gained entrance to the museum on March 18, 1990, by telling the security guard at the watch desk that they were responding to a report of a disturbance, according to authorities.

The guard did not follow museum policy and allowed the men into the museum. The thieves handcuffed the museum's two guards on duty and put them in separate areas of the museum's basement.

The suspects robbed the museum of about $500 million worth of masterpieces that included works by Rembrandt, Manet and Vermeer. The FBI told The Associated Press in 2015 that two suspects are deceased.

"Typically stolen masterpieces are either recovered soon after a theft or a generation later," said Anthony Amore, the museum's security director. "We remain optimistic that these works will ultimately be recovered."

In 1997, the museum increased its reward from $1 million to $5 million. The new $10 million reward is available immediately but expires at midnight Dec. 31.

Amore said anyone with information should contact the museum directly. The museum guarantees complete confidentiality, he said.

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