Elizabeth Neuffer, Boston Globe May 13, 1990

Dozens of prison inmates have called the FBI with tips about the Gardner Museum art heist, but one-time art thief Myles J. Connor Jr. isn't one of them.

The former Milton resident, whose name is almost synonymous in New England with art thievery, was the first person on the minds of investigators after the March 18 heist. But Connor, best known for reportedly avoiding a prison term in exchange for negotiating the return of a Rembrandt to the Museum of Fine Arts, doesn't appear to be making any deals.

"We've made no attempt to talk to Myles Connor," said FBI supervisory special agent Edward M. Quinn, who heads the agency's Reactive Squad in Boston.

Adds Connor's defense attorney, Greg Collins: "He has not been requested to meet with the FBI, and I am pretty sure he has not been in contact with them." Connor, a former rock band leader and art thief, is in jail in Chicago, awaiting sentencing on drug and stolen property charges.

Where does that leave the investigation into the two thieves who made off with $200 million in art? Squads of agents are working on the case in several cities, the FBI says.

And there are many leads. Approximately 1,000 tips have flooded the FBI since March 18. Initially, the agency was receiving up to 100 pieces of information a day.

Not all tips are helpful. "Somebody will call up and say that there was a 1972 robbery at a different museum, and that suspects were arrested that fit the Gardner theft," said Tron Brekke, an assistant special agent in charge of the Boston FBI. "We'll find out from agents, that yes, two people were arrested. But one is subsequently dead."

Prison inmates, anxious to trade information for a reduced sentence, have repeatedly contacted the FBI. Some prisoners have offered to lead the FBI to the paintings if the agency will help them make bail. The FBI, so far, has refused.

Other information has poured in from far-flung spots around the world, including South America. "Fortunately, we have agents who speak those languages," said Quinn.

Many clues have come to the agency from closer to home, particularly after the FBI published composite pictures of the two thieves.

"I'll get a call from the housewife who says, 'I know that composite -- it's my ex-husband,' " said Quinn. "And we check those out, too."

To report any information about the theft, the FBI has asked people to call them at 742-5533.

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Gardner Museum Heist