WBUR, and The Boston Globe, announced today they have joined forces to launch Last Seen, a weekly podcast that will debut on September 17. Hosted by WBUR’s award-winning producers and reporters Kelly Horan and Jack Rodolico, and with exclusive contributions from Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Stephen Kurkjian, author of “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist,” Last Seen examines the most valuable and confounding art heist in history: the theft of 13 artworks, including Rembrandt’s only seascape, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
“Twenty-eight years later, this unsolved crime still exerts an irresistible curiosity, and we’re excited to offer WBUR and The Boston Globe’s first true-crime podcast on this significant case originating in the city where it happened,” said Iris Adler, Executive Director for Programming, Podcasts and Special Projects at WBUR. “The producers of Last Seen have obtained unprecedented access to case files, first-ever interviews and this podcast is the result of a year of investigative reporting to unravel the crime’s many mysteries.”
"Our reporters have spoken to key people who have never before publicly talked. They have seen places and documents that no other reporters have seen before. Their work even led federal authorities to conduct a high-stakes excavation in a residential neighborhood in Florida. It all comes together in a provocative look not only at the crime and all the colorful characters around it, but at the investigation that has failed to solve it," said Jane Bowman, Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, The Boston Globe.
The podcast begins with the night of the robbery. Like many museums in the 1990s, the Isabella Gardner Museum was uninsured and poorly secured. On March 18, 1990, the thieves — dressed in police uniforms — tied up the security guards and stole 13 pieces of artwork valued at $500 million, including three Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a Manet and sketches by Degas. The empty frames, where the treasured art once hung, still line the walls of museum.
Despite promises of immunity and a profitable reward, which started at $1 million and now stands at $10 million, no one has ever been charged in the crime, and none of the artwork has been recovered.
Who pulled off what the FBI describes as the largest property crime case in U.S. history? Was it a mob associate who ran the TRC Auto Electric repair shop in Dorchester, the Irish Republican Army and Whitey Bulger, two wannabe rock ‘n’ rollers or someone else entirely? Last Seen looks at these and many more suspects as hosts Horan and Rodolico travel from Boston to Philadelphia, Florida, Ireland and Italy investigating motives, scenarios and dead bodies with key players and leading experts on the robbery.
Last Seen offers unprecedented access to many of the key players involved in the case including:
• Richard Abath, the night watchman who let in the robbers who were disguised as policemen;
• A first-ever interview with the second security guard on duty the night of the heist;
• Anthony Amore, the Gardner Museum’s chief investigator for the past 12 years;
• Shelley Murphy, renowned Boston Globe investigative journalist and co-author of “Whitey Bulger: America’s Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice;”
• Brian Kelly, former assistant US attorney who oversaw the investigation for a decade;
• David Nadolski, a former FBI agent who ran the robbery task force and had the infamous Anthony Romano as an informant;
• Myles Connor, lifelong thief, suspect, would be rock star and Mensa member; and
• the lawyers and family members of numerous suspects.
Last Seen, a 10-episode series, will launch on September 17, 2018 with new weekly episodes available every Monday to stream or download on Apple Podcasts. The podcast, along with supporting documentation, photographs and additional reporting will be online at bostonglobe.com and wbur.org/lastseen—users can also subscribe to be notified when the podcast becomes available.