Twenty years ago to the day, two thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, USA, and seized art including a Vermeer, three Rembrandts and a Manet, with a total current value of about £350 million. John Wilson reports from the Museum on this audacious robbery, which remains the single greatest property theft ever. Empty frames on the gallery walls remain a sad and constant reminder of the crime.
John talks to investigators from the Museum and the FBI still on the trail of the missing art, and hears the many theories about the possible perpetrators. Novelist Tracy Chevalier, who saw the Vermeer in the Museum before it was stolen, reflects on the part this painting played in her novel Girl With A Pearl Earring, and crime writer David Hosp discusses his fictional account of the crime and its aftermath in his new novel Among Thieves.
And despite the two decades since these art works disappeared from public view, John discovers that a happy ending is not out of the question.