Gardner Museum Heist —Blog

The Boston Globe and the New Fabulism

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Part Five

In the year following the 25th Anniversary, 2016, Leonard DiMuzio and George Reissfelder were put on the back burner as suspects to point the finger at, somewhat, especially DiMuzio. During that time Anthony Amore sent me an email saying that the investigation was focusing on Bobby Donati, but not for the reasons put forth by Kurkjian. He did not elaborate or offer an alternative theory.

Reissfelder remained in play, along with David Turner, but DiMuzio was dropped from the official narrative. He was mentioned in passing, but the narrative became less specific, but with Donati's names kept popping up more and more.

I'm less certain we have... we know the two individuals who went in there. Whether it's Lenny DiMuzio, George Reissfelder, David Turner, Mel... you've got the crewish we feel good about, without being clear about who "we" is in this case.

This echoed what Anthony Amore said earlier that year on Berklee College of Music Internet Radio (BIRN): "We know what gang was involved in stealing the paintings. We have an idea what the gang was. It doesn't really matter who the two guys were."

This was quite different from what, Peter Kowenhoven, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge in Boston, has said 20 months earlier, that “the focus of the investigation for many years was: Who did this heist? And we have, through the great investigative work, identified who did this heist, and both those individuals are deceased,”

It took a little more cognitive dissonance to graft Donati onto this group, since the TRC Auto Electric group, was headed up Merlino, who was in a rival gang, the Vincent Ferrara gang, and Merlino was aligned with Frank Salemme,

but this was a flood the zone with shit operation, not a debating society.

Over time, Amore took over the task of casting aspersion on various local toughs, while denying that was what he was doing.

In the Boston Globe's Last Seen podcast, which was done in conjunction with an NPR affiliate, WBUR, Amore said: "Let me be very clear. I'm not saying George Reissfelder committed the heist. I'm just saying the work of art looked exactly like George to the point where we had a police uniform photoshopped onto him, and you hold the two and he looks exactly like this composite work of art."

The added police uniform was not the only thing photoshopped about the picture of George Reissfelder. Reissfelder had a very distinctive squared off chin, a trait not depicted in any of the police sketches, but is quite obvious in any photo of Reissfelder, except for the one, that was published in the Herald, alongside the new police sketch. The image, used by the Herald, was photoshopped to fit the narrative, just like Murphy and Kurkjian and photoshop history in their news stories to fit the narrative.

Another example of Amore not saying what he is clearly saying came in 2020, on a podcast called Old Dirty Boston. In response to a question Amore said:

"Let me say that as I mentioned to you before neither the museum, nor the FBI are willing to name suspects, but I will say I'm not going to sit here and lie to you and pretend that never heard of Bobby Donati.

The world's greatest art thief is Myles Connor. Myles Connor says Bobby Donati did it. Just based on that you can't discount that.

Interviewer: They used a case the Gardner together according to Connor? Amore: According to Myles and Myles cased every museum right so there's no reason to doubt him he said he did it with Bobby Donati I can't prove a negative so I'm going to believe Myles that it's true.

In Myles book, this casing of the Gardner with Donati took place, a few months after the Museum of Fine Arts was robbed, which he later arranged the return of, for a sentence reduction and was on the run. He skipped a court hearing, concerning an arrest the previous summer by the FBI for trying to sell $165,000 worth of art, stolen in the 1974 Woolworth Estate in Monmouth, Maine a year earlier. Connor was a wanted man on the run, at high profile stolen art criminal, at large, and he decides to stop by the Gardner Museum and case the joint.

Robert Donati meanwhile, had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, the previous summer and was incarcerated in the Deer Island House of correction during the summer of 1975.

There are plenty of reasons to doubt Myles Connor, and his taking credit for crimes after the statute of limitations has expired does not make him the world's greatest art thief. In 2014, Amore condemned the New York Times for calling an e-book collection of articles about the Gardner robbery: "America's Greatest Art Heist? But since, 2015, you cannot raise the name of Myles Connor to Amore without him saying that Myles Connor is the world's greatest art thief.

The only evidence Amore is willing to offer the public about Donati's connection to the Gardner heist is the endorsement of this odious expert, his greatest art thief in the world, Myles Connor.

After being released from prison, Connor moved out of Massachusetts in 1986 a few months after he got out of prison. He wasn't on the street in Massachusetts for a decade prior to the Gardner heist, and had been incarcerated for over a year before the robbery occurred.

In 2014, Amore said: "Myles Connor is one of these guys who committed every type of crime you can imagine. Make a list. Brainstorm on crimes. He can check off every box. You name it. he's done it, a real bad guy." 11/12/14 Time 45:00

There are inconsistencies in Myles Connor's story about the caper having been pulled off by Donati along with David Houghton, which was reported by Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy in 2018.

In his book, The Art of the Steal," Connor claimed that David Houghton came out to visit him in California, several weeks after the Gardner heist. And in the Boston Globe's Last Seen Podcast, Connor said: "How I'm 100 percent sure that they did it [robbed the Gardner Museum] was because David Houghton, who was a longtime friend of mine, flew all the way from Logan Airport to California just to tell me: ' We did it. And we got a bunch of paintings, and we're gonna use a couple of these paintings to bargain you into a reduced sentence."

He also writes that in the fall of 1990 I was transferred to the federal penitentiary in Lompoc, California and that after Houghton visited him, he never saw either man, Houghton, or Donati after that.

Long before Kelly Anne Conway was fielding questions from the White House lawn, Shelley Murphy explained that Myles Connor's book "is clearly shaded by Connor's version of the truth.

And if that isn't enough, Amore himself said of Myles Connor back in 2013: "Every single person who said they could get the paintings back, one of them is Myles Connor, who's come forward and said it, they're all charlatans...hucksters." 10/29/13 1:24:00

Part Six

by Kerry Joyce

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