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Episode 7: 'I Was The One'36:51
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Myles Connor is brought into a Dedham courthouse on July 9, 1985. (George Rizer/Boston Globe)MoreCloseclosemore
Myles Connor is brought into a Dedham courthouse on July 9, 1985. (George Rizer/Boston Globe)

The pieces that thieves stole from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 don’t quite add up. Some were masterpieces, some were sketches, and others were, well, not like the others. Two major outliers — the eagle finial and the Chinese bronze gu — are more likely to be “trophy steals.”

But “trophy steals” for whom? Well, perhaps for infamous Boston art thief Myles Connor.

Connor was raised in Milton, Massachusetts, to a family mix of blue bloods and blue collar. Extraordinary smart, Connor chose to pursue a rock ‘n’ roll career instead of a Harvard degree. By the mid-‘70s, Connor showed his prowess at outsmarting law enforcement. You might go as far to say he wrote the playbook for how to steal a Rembrandt, and — more importantly — what to do with it once you have it.

In 1974, he and associate Bobby Donati robbed a Maine mansion of a haul that included five Wyeth paintings. They stashed it and then waited a few weeks for a buyer. That buyer ended up being an FBI agent prepared with handcuffs for Connor. Out of jail and facing a long prison sentence, Connor stole a Rembrandt from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While he was in jail, he arranged for a return of the artwork to authorities through a friend. Facing up to 13 years in prison, he only served 28 months.

Now 73 years old, Connor says he started casing the Gardner Museum with Bobby Donati back in 1975. His plan looks a lot like what actually happened — he wanted to go for the Vermeer and the Rembrandts, and pick up the gu as a present for himself and the finial for Donati. After stealing the art, he’d ransom it back for the reward money.

But, Connor couldn't have been inside the Gardner in 1990. He was in prison at the time of the theft, serving a long federal sentence for drug trafficking. But, could he have served as inspiration for the heist? Was he the mastermind?

Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates, join our Facebook group to discuss the investigation and if you have a tip, theory or thought, we want to hear it.

This episode was adapted for the web by Amy Gorel.


Transcript:

KELLY HORAN: Why did the Gardner thieves take those 13 pieces? The answer to that question could tell us so much. Two in particular seem to make no sense: the 12th century Chinese gu and the bronze eagle finial. They’re not even one-of-a-kind. The museum’s former director told us she always thought of them as “trophy steals.” But trophies for whom? As it turns out, maybe this guy.

MYLES CONNOR: Back then there was a tree, where you could climb the tree and overlook and see into the Gardner. Get the routine of the guards and that sort of thing.

HORAN: At 73 years old, Myles Connor Jr. isn’t climbing trees anymore. But as a young man, he studied martial arts. He was the kind of thief who could — and did — shimmy up a drain pipe in order to rob a museum. Connor wanted to rob the Gardner Museum. He says he would have gone for the Vermeer and the Rembrandts, and his plan for doing it looks an awful lot like what actually happened.

CONNOR: And so, I figured, I knew that the paintings were uninsured, and I knew they would do anything to get their paintings back. And so it made sense that they would come up with a substantial reward for a return of those things. And that, that was my plan for the Gardner.

HORAN: Steal the art. Ransom it back. Myles Connor says he started casing the Gardner Museum in 1975, a full 15 years before the heist. And as he walked the galleries back then, he says he wasn’t alone. He was with another art thief, a guy named Bobby. Not a Bobby we’ve told you about though. His name was Bobby Donati.

CONNOR: Bobby was a typical, Italian crook. I wouldn't call him a mobster because mobsters are what you associate with organized crime. He wasn't that kind of a crook. His specialty was rugs, oriental rugs. That's what he used to steal, deal with and collect.

HORAN: Connor and Donati had eclectic taste. Lucky for them, the Gardner has an eclectic collection. So after setting their minds on the museum’s Dutch masterpieces, which Connor says they intended to ransom back for the reward, they window-shopped for a little something nice for themselves.

CONNOR: When Bobby and I had gone through the Gardner, for some reason he was attracted to the finial. He said, “I like that.” And sure enough it was taken. Then there was a bronze — didn't they take a Chinese bronze urn?

HORAN: Connor is referring to the gu. He’s a self-taught aficionado of Asian art.

CONNOR: [Laughing.] That was something that I liked! I'm embarrassed to say! I never should have admitted that! But I'm damn sure he took that because I told him that I liked it. He liked the finial. I said I like that thing.

HORAN: Did Bobby Donati wind up with that finial? Were Bobby Donati and Myles Connor responsible for the heist? We put the question to the Gardner Museum’s head of security, Anthony Amore.

ANTHONY AMORE: I don't like to speculate about who did it, where they are, but there are things I will throw out there. And one of my beliefs is that it's likely that Myles Connor was the inspiration for the heist. Right? Because it's hard to believe he wouldn't be given how prolific he was in the decades leading up to it.

HORAN: Amore describes Connor as the world’s greatest art thief. He wrote the playbook for how to steal a Rembrandt, and — more important — what to do with it once you have it. The question is: Was Myles Connor more than just the inspiration for the Gardner heist? Was he the mastermind?

From WBUR Boston and The Boston Globe, this is Last Seen. I’m Kelly Horan.

JACK RODOLICO: And I’m Jack Rodolico. This is Episode 7: "I Was The One."

Myles Connor was born in Milton, Massachusetts, a comfortable Boston suburb. His family stretches back to both sides of the city’s oldest class divide: blue collar and blue blood.

CONNOR: My father was a Milton police officer. My mother was a daughter of the Mayflower.

RODOLICO: By the way, Connor slurs his words a little — the result of major heart attack he suffered a few years ago. He traces his lineage on his mother’s side to a founder of the Hudson River School of artists. He traces his criminality to his paternal grandfather, who fled Ireland after he shot a constable. He says the first museum he ever robbed was an act of revenge in the name of his father. Here's what happened: A small museum in his hometown accused Connor's father — the cop — of stealing from them, something his dad would never do.

CONNOR: So my father who was as honest as honest could be. And he said, "Can you believe that these WASP sons of bitches? You know, I've never been so insulted in my life." And so, I picked up on this.

RODOLICO: And by picked up on this, Connor means he got even. He snuck into the museum at night and took enough antiques to fill the trunk of his car. He gave the museum just enough time to panic before all of it showed back up on their front lawn.

CONNOR: The stuff was mysteriously returned to the museum! [Laughs.]

RODOLICO: This sort of I-can-do-anything-at-any-time attitude, it stems from the fact that Connor pretty much could have done anything with his life. Before he became the best at a bad thing, he had the option of becoming really good at good things. Connor was an exceptionally bright kid. He says he was offered a spot at Harvard, where he would have studied to become a surgeon.

CONNOR: That was a turn in my life that I regret. Looking back at it, I think I would have been a better surgeon than I was an art thief.

RODOLICO: But he didn’t give up on being a surgeon so he could be a thief. He rejected college to pursue another passion altogether. Myles Connor was a rockstar. Here he is, on stage, at a place called the Beachcomber in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1978.

[Music]

RODOLICO: His band was called Myles Connor & The Wild Ones. He headlined clubs around Boston, and opened for big names, like Roy Orbison and Chuck Berry. He was a 5-foot, 2-inch front man with a leather jacket and fiery red hair. Sometimes he drove his motorcycle right on stage. And he could impersonate rock legends. A local chain of gas stations hired him to record their commercials, where he’d imitate his heroes. Here’s one from 1963.

[Music]

HORAN: Connor's music career was bound to suffer as crime took up more and more of his time. Martin Leppo is the defense attorney who’s represented seven different men who have been named in connection to the Gardner investigation. Myles Connor is one of them.

MARTIN LEPPO: Have I been out socially with Myles? Absolutely. Has he been to my house? Absolutely. Has my wife cooked dinner for him? Absolutely. Did I write to him while he was in jail? Absolutely. Did I defend his honor in certain things? Absolutely. Do I think he’s a criminal? Absolutely. But a very bright criminal, and if he had done things the right way, he would have probably been some famous surgeon or politician.

HORAN: Connor was a Renaissance criminal. He’d kidnap drug dealers, stick up banks, sell cocaine — you name it. And he doesn't exactly look back on all his crimes with remorse.

CONNOR: Got picked up with about $100,000 cash on me! But it was unmarked cash. ... Bang! I hit the guy. [Laughing hard.] And so he goes down. Now a fight breaks out. It's all of them against me. It's the entire goddamn football team.

LEPPO: He was taking down Quaaludes from Canada. He was making around 20,000 bucks a week.

CONNOR: And so the guy says, "I know who you are." And I say, "I don't think so. I don't know you." "Oh yes, you do. You little f----- punk, you mother f-----." Blam! I label him right across the top of his skull. He was an off-duty Boston cop. He was the first cop I ever nailed. ... A shotgun goes off. Ba-lam! Shoots himself right in the balls. So we're all stunned! "Oh! I shot myself!" Could not have happened to a more deserving individual. [Laughs.]

HORAN: The crime Connor is best known for, though, is stealing art. And he says the question of who he would and wouldn’t steal from was all down to a personal code. A kind of thief’s honor system. Take the time he posed as a well-dressed gentleman, and talked his way into the storage area of a museum with vast holdings of Asian antiquities. Connor says he could have cleaned them out.

CONNOR: But I recognized their deep sense of affection towards the stuff that they, that they had. It was that sense of appreciation that kept me from violating the trust that they had.

HORAN: Connor felt no such compunction about the prospect of stealing from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

CONNOR: They were going to get the paintings back! I was gonna get money! And so there was no harm done other than to the insurance company or the billionaire patrons.

HORAN: Myles Connor isn’t just smart. He claims membership in Mensa, the high-IQ society. And his genius is best on display when he is getting himself into and out of trouble. That’s his art. And it was a crime spree in the mid-1970s that solidified his reputation as someone who could outfox law enforcement.

CONNOR: When you steal something from a major museum, and you don't take it out of storage, and it's going to be missed, then the major purpose is to use that as a bargaining chip to help either oneself or somebody else out of a "jackpot."

RODOLICO: Here’s how Connor got himself into what he calls a “jackpot.” In 1974, Connor says his old buddy who liked antique rugs, Bobby Donati, approached him about an estate he wanted to rob in Maine. It was owned by the Woolworth family, who had a private collection that rivaled an art museum.

CONNOR: I was not in the business of stealing some private collection from somebody who had a deep attachment to it. But somebody who had as much money as those folks had, and could go away for half a year at a time, that really didn't bother me. So I went along with Bobby.

RODOLICO: For a leisurely hour in the middle of a warm summer night, Connor and three other men — including, he says, Donati and a guy named David Houghton — combed through the empty mansion. They filled a panel truck with two Simon Willard grandfather clocks, two paintings by Andrew Wyeth and three more by his father, N.C. Wyeth. One was an illustration the elder Wyeth had painted for the original cover of the book "Treasure Island." Connor says he stashed it all and waited weeks for Bobby Donati to announce he had found a buyer for the paintings. Connor met up with that buyer on Cape Cod.

CONNOR: I ended up taking the paintings down there, and met these FBI agents. It was a sting operation and I got arrested for interstate transportation of stolen goods.

RODOLICO: Connor was staring at a long prison sentence — possibly 10 years for trafficking the art, three more for violating parole. He was 31 years old. For the FBI, arresting Connor red-handed — that was the jackpot. Because he’d always managed to get away. Like the time he was on the lam when his mother died. Martin Leppo says Connor knew the police would stake out the funeral home looking for him, and he was determined to see his mother one last time.

LEPPO: He actually rented a hearse, got into a coffin transported to the funeral parlor. Got out, kissed his mother goodbye, got back in the coffin into the vehicle and left.

HORAN: Which, brings us back to that parking lot in Cape Cod, where Connor was nabbed with the five stolen Wyeth paintings. The FBI had him. He knew it. They knew it. And, according to Connor, the agent who arrested him rubbed it in his face.

CONNOR: And he said, "We've got you now, Connors. It'll take a Rembrandt to get you out of this." I said, "You know, you're right." And so then I set my heart on getting a Rembrandt.

HORAN: Myles Connor, out of jail and awaiting trial for trafficking the stolen Wyeths, heeded the Rembrandt advice. He just had to find one. He settled on one that was on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: “Portrait of Elisabeth van Rijn,” Rembrandt’s sister. At the time — 1975 — it was said to be worth upwards of a million dollars.

CONNOR: That particular painting was near the back entrance to the place so you could get a quick access, and a quick egress.

HORAN: Connor hatched a broad daylight robbery. This posed a few problems, not least of which was Connor’s budding notoriety as an art thief — his name was all over the papers for the Wyeth arrest. Plus, that red hair.

CONNOR: I believe I had a tan trench coat, a wig and sunglasses. And I believe I also had a fake mustache.

HORAN: On a sleepy Monday — April 14, 1975 — Connor launched what sounds like a paramilitary strike on Boston’s MFA. Connor says there were three vehicles with eight armed men, one with a machine gun. Six men positioned themselves near the entrance while Connor and another thief, also disguised, bought admission tickets, and walked up to the gallery on the second floor. They pulled the Rembrandt off the wall and ran.

CONNOR: As the exit was made down the front steps there was a phalanx of guards that came rushing down.

HORAN: Connor says as he ran through the turnstile with the painting, the corner of the portrait’s frame jammed between the bars. It wouldn’t budge. Connor was stuck. The guards closed in. An accomplice opened fire.

CONNOR: And there was a guy with a machine gun, brrrrr. Let the machine gun go off. They went right back.

HORAN: The guards stood down. Connor, with the help of one of his men, pushed all of his weight against the turnstile. As he freed himself, the corner of the Rembrandt’s frame cracked and splintered. The thieves ran with it to the van. One guard chased them.

CONNOR: The guy would not let go of the painting. The guy ran up to the back of the van and latched onto the painting.

HORAN: “Don’t shoot the guard,” Connor said. One of them smashed him in the head with the butt of a gun. The guard, a retired cop, collapsed in the street as they sped away with the Rembrandt.

RODOLICO: Imagine the pressure the Boston police and the FBI were under to catch the thieves who stole a Rembrandt in the middle of the day. The investigation dragged on for months without a break. But there was one person who knew exactly what happened.

AL DOTOLI: So when I woke up and found that it was gone, I knew right away. I said that's what's been going on. He stole the damn Rembrandt.

RODOLICO: Al Dotoli is Myles Connor’s oldest and best friend. He is not a criminal. Dotoli is a law-abiding music production manager. The two met as teenagers when Connor was a music legend in their neighborhood. At 15 years old, Dotoli knocked on Connor’s door and asked for a guitar lesson. Almost 60 years later, Dotoli is still loyal to his friend but that doesn't mean he understands his choices.

DOTOLI: You know, I was never scolding him, but I said, "For Christ's sake, don't you ever stop?"

RODOLICO: Of course, Connor didn't stop. And as crime derailed his music career, Dotoli moved on with his own, producing bigger and bigger acts. He’s set up sound systems for Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, the Dalai Lama and Super Bowl halftime shows.

DOTOLI: I came off a plane. I was with Dionne Warwick. And we're walking off the plane. He had just been shot robbing a freaking bank a couple weeks before. And he's in a wheelchair with a cast on up to his hip, from the foot to the hip. I'm coming down, and I go, "Oh, my god."

RODOLICO: Here's the kind of friend Al Dotoli is: When Connor would go to prison, Dotoli arranged concerts behind bars, Johnny Cash-style. Like in 1977, when he got blues legend James Cotton to perform with Connor in Walpole State Prison. Here's that recording.

[Music]

RODOLICO: It was this friendship and loyalty that made Al Dotoli the obvious person to shake down for information about the Boston MFA’s missing Rembrandt. Boston police, the FBI, even insurance agents were knocking on his door. One evening, a black limousine pulled up. Out stepped a nightclub owner, carrying a briefcase.

DOTOLI: He sits down and goes, "Well you know, the guys — the guys on the hill thought maybe Myles would consider letting us deal this Rembrandt that he seems to have absconded.”

RODOLICO: “The Guys on the Hill” — that was the underworld euphemism for the dominant Patriarca crime family.

DOTOLI: And he takes the briefcase, and he opens it up, and it's jammed full of money. So I see that. He thinks it's gonna jolt me to get something done. Well, that's about as close as I ever came to wetting my pants. So I went to Myles and I said, “OK, this s--- has to stop. Right now. This is it."

RODOLICO: Dotoli had no idea where the Rembrandt was. No one knew that except for Myles Connor — and a friend of his, a guy they referred to as Charlie, who didn’t ask a lot of questions.

CONNOR: In this case it went under the bed of a friend of mine's grandmother. [Laughs.] And so she never knew what was underneath her bed. There it stayed, safe and sound, safe and sound.

RODOLICO: Not so much for Connor. Less than two weeks after the Boston MFA heist, he was due in court for trafficking the Wyeth paintings. He skipped the trial, which made him a fugitive. Through the summer of 1975, Connor was in hiding — until the FBI caught him. Again. But this time, Connor had his get-out-jail-free card: the Rembrandt. Except, now that he was in prison, he couldn’t deal that card himself. Plus, would the FBI play?

CONNOR: FBI will say, "No. We're not going to deal with that guy. We don't care what we --- we are not going to deal with that guy." And so that is always the position of the FBI. So you simply go beyond the FBI.

HORAN: What — who — is beyond the FBI? From his jail cell, Connor started with an old friend of his father’s — a state police major named John Regan.

CONNOR: The major distinction between an FBI agent and a state police officer is a sense of humor.

HORAN: Deliberately cutting out the FBI, Connor, through the state police, offered the federal prosecutor a deal.

CONNOR: And they went to a federal prosecutor who wanted the publicity. So he said, "Oh, you can get the painting back? We'll do whatever he wants." And so I negotiated the return from Charles Street Jail.

HORAN: In a sense, that was the easy part. But for the prosecutor to reduce his sentence, Connor had to return the Rembrandt. To do that, he needed someone he could trust. Enter Al Dotoli.

DOTOLI: Myles being Myles, he starts with all this cloak and dagger shit on how he wants it done. "Use firecrackers. Let them think they're machine guns," and I said, "Listen, listen, listen, I'll get this thing back to — you're sitting here. I'm outside. It's going down my way."

HORAN: After the black limo left his driveway, Al Dotoli was eager to see the Rembrandt returned. He reluctantly agreed to do it.

DOTOLI: I just wanted to see that picture of that Rembrandt on the front page of The Boston Globe saying it's been returned, so I could get rid of all those fools that were jumping in on my — you know, the insurance agents, and the FBI, and quite honestly, the underworld, and the mafia, and all those people would have no more reason to be, to be looking for me if, in fact, it was returned.

HORAN: I have to say you are a very tolerant friend.

DOTOLI: Yeah. You know, there's some tolerance, sprinkle in a little stupidity, and rock 'n' roll. It's not a good — it's not a good match.

HORAN: Connor says he wrote two letters with instructions on how the handoff should go. A friendly prison guard hand-delivered them both — one to Charlie, who hid the painting, the other to Dotoli. Connor wrote to his friend: “This operation is vital and must be carried out successfully; no mob, no insurance men, no FBI or police, and no failure.” No pressure.

CONNOR: Make sure it goes smooth, and make sure the right people are involved, and the wrong people aren't listening. Plus there's a sense of romance associated with the adventure. So all of that plays into it.

HORAN: Jan. 2, 1976 was a cold, clear Friday. From jail, Connor made the call that set his high-stakes scheme in motion. He called Dotoli and said, "Tonight is the night." Connor gave his friend a code name: Kevin.

DOTOLI: And I called Major Regan at his home, and he answered, and I said, "This is Kevin and we're on.” And I said, "Get in your car and drive to the Pepsi distributor, which is down the street. There's a payphone there. Pull up and wait for the phone to ring and you'll get your next marching order.”

RODOLICO: It was just after 7 p.m. From a room at the Holiday Inn, Dotoli called State Police Major Regan and gave him directions to the hotel. When Regan pulled in, Dotoli was waiting for him, in the shadows. He approached the car and used the code language Connor had given him.

DOTOLI: I was to say to John Regan, "It's a nice night out tonight." And the answer was going to be, "Yes, there's plenty of stars." So I said, "Yeah, it's a nice night..." I'm standing there all in black with a freaking ski mask on. So, OK. So, I opened the door and I get in back. And this other gentleman is in the car. So I said, "IDs" And that's when I'm saying, "You know, you're in pretty deep here now."

RODOLICO: The guy in the car with Major Regan was the federal prosecutor who had the power to let Connor off the hook in the Wyeth case. Dotoli sent them across the street into a disco. Through his ski mask, he told them to wait for the bartender to announce a phone call for a Paul Greeter. They went into the bar. A few minutes later, Charlie pulled up with the Rembrandt in his trunk.

DOTOLI: Myles had arranged, I had a photo. Charlie had a photo. And it was a photo of what's on the back.

HORAN: Of the Rembrandt?

DOTOLI: The Rembrandt, itself, but as importantly and even more importantly a bunch of numbers and things that were on the back.

HORAN: During any of this, did you have a moment to pause when you were holding this Rembrandt in your hands and kind of behold what it was?

DOTOLI: If you're asking me if the artistic value of it ran through my veins, no it didn't. What ran through my veins was, "Holy shit, this thing is finally here, and hopefully soon it'll finally be gone."

RODOLICO: Dotoli put the Rembrandt in the trunk of Major Regan’s car. He bolted up three flights of stairs to his room at the Holiday Inn, and called the disco.

DOTOLI: And the bartender goes, "Is there a Paul Greeter here?" I hear him go, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm right here. I'm right here." So he takes the phone and I said, "OK guys, you walk out the front of that lounge. Walk, do not run." I said, "If what you want is in that trunk then turn, face the building, and put your hands into your belt." Earlier I  said, "Nobody's armed, right?" They said, "Oh, no, no, nobody's armed." So they open up the trunk and they're flashlighting all over the place. So they open their trench coats, they put their hands in there. And what I observed was: I went, "The sons of bitches." They both had a guns stuck in there.

RODOLICO: The state cop and the prosecutor left with the painting. Dotoli drove to the airport and flew straight to New York City for a gig. The next day, he picked up the paper.

DOTOLI: I read The New York Times. It wasn't on Page 1, but it was on Page 2. And I was quite relieved.

RODOLICO: At a press conference announcing the return of the Rembrandt, the FBI was notably absent. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State Police proudly detailed the clandestine handoff. They stated plainly that they didn’t make any deals with prisoners in order to get the painting back. Myles Connor, who was facing 13 years in prison, only served 28 months.

HORAN: If Myles Connor could orchestrate the return of one Rembrandt from inside prison, wasn’t it possible he could organize the theft of another?

LEPPO: When the Gardner was hit, Myles became the No. 1 suspect. Did he orchestrate it? And so forth and so on. So that was number one.

HORAN: There was just one problem, as Martin Leppo recalls. On March 18, 1990, Connor was serving a long federal sentence for drug trafficking. He was in prison in Lompoc, California. So, Myles Connor didn’t rob the Gardner Museum. But he says he knows who did. His old friend and sometime criminal accomplice, Bobby Donati.

CONNOR: He was a pragmatist as far as being a thief goes. So if somebody wanted to cut the paintings out of the frame, he'd do it.

HORAN: Remember, Connor says he and Donati cased the Gardner together in the 1970s. The two had gone so far, Connor says, as to pick out what they’d steal. And Connor’s feat with the Boston MFA’s Rembrandt had shown the entire criminal world that stealing art — especially a Rembrandt — was not only possible, it could get you out of prison. Connor says Bobby Donati had an accomplice in the Gardner heist: David Houghton.

CONNOR: How I'm 100 percent sure that they did it was because David Houghton, who was longtime friend of mine, flew all the way from Logan Airport to California just to tell me: "We've done with. We did it. And we got a bunch paintings, and we're gonna use a couple of these paintings to bargain you into a reduced sentence."

HORAN: If David Houghton were involved in the Gardner heist, he would have had to been waiting outside — he weighed at least 300 pounds and bore no resemblance whatsoever to the police sketches of the thieves. What about Bobby Donati? With his round face and dark features, maybe. But Connor is convinced that it was Donati and Houghton who stole the Rembrandts and the Vermeer as currency to spring him from prison. And the smaller items they took ...

HORAN: So it sounds like the finial was a souvenir for Donati.

CONNOR: Beyond a doubt.

HORAN: The gu was maybe a gift for you.

CONNOR: [Laughs.] I'm quite sure. Yeah.

HORAN: If his friend took that gu as a gift for Connor, he says he never got it. That might be because Houghton and Donati died the year after the Gardner heist. Houghton had a heart attack; Donati was found brutally murdered in the trunk of his car. The Boston FBI has said they know who robbed the Gardner Museum — and that the thieves are dead. They haven't identified them. That could mean that the secrets of the Gardner heist died with Donati and Houghton — or with any of the other dead men whose names have been floated in connection with the robbery.

Next week, one more dead suspect. His fingerprints were among the first sent to FBI headquarters after the heist. And some who knew him best believe he’s still alive — and that he did it.


Last Seen is a production from WBUR and The Boston Globe. Digital content was produced in partnership with The ARTery, WBUR's arts and culture team. Read more on the Gardner heist from The ARTery.

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