Gardner Museum Heist —Blog

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December 20, 2021

Excerpt From Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode Four Transcript

Nadolski: It was a lot of fun. In 1997, I believe, Anthony Romano, a guy who's been in and out of prison a lot, he gets in touch with me and says, "I got to meet you to talk about the Gardner case." We set up the meeting to take place at an abandoned ball field. It was cold, I remember that. It was… probably November, December. He says "I'm a mechanic. This old prison buddy of mine, his name is Carmello Merlino, I'm not real happy with him. He turned my ex-wife into a drug mule, and it almost ruined her life." He said, "I really hate the prick." I got the funny feeling now, he's doing a lot of talking with people that are somehow involved with the Gardner. He's got some connection. One of the guys he hangs with is David Turner. The Turner name came up during the Gardener theft at some point in time. I said, "Would you potentially wear a recording device one time? Can you do it?" And he goes, "Yeah, all right. I'll do it." He did. And he kept doing it. And he did it like a pro! [laughs]

The net result in terms of the Gardner was absolutely zero, however, except to underscore how very unlikely it was that these individuals were involved since they all died in prison, or spent two decades of the prime of their lives incarcerated, without any of them providing any information, of any kind about the Gardner heist.

And when Nadolski as asked on Last Seen Podcast by Kelly Horan: "So, after all that, after the sting on the Loomis facility, the stack of confidential informant reports that mentioned Vermeer and Rembrandt and promises to return them, and the similarities between how the Gardner heist went down and how the Loomis hit was planned, did David Nadolski believe the plot to rob the Gardner Museum was hatched out of TRC Auto Electric? The former FBI agent who had been so expansive in his responses had this time just one thing to say," and needed just one word to say it in: "No."

Here is a link to the complete disinforming transcript of Netflix "This Is A Robbery, Episode 4" Episode Four.

December 19, 2021

Excerpt From Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode Three Transcript

Dick Ellis: "In 1989 I set up the Art and Antique Squad at Scotland Yard. I'd recovered a lot of stolen artwork. I'd had a number of international investigations. After the robbery from the Gardner Museum, the FBI were in touch with us as soon they took over the investigation. We discussed the case in detail." Who did the thieves hand them over to? We don't know. Where would they have gone from there? We don't know.

"But what we do know is art travels the world every day. It's easy to smuggle and use as an international currency."

In Boston, in 1990, the two front runners, shall we say, is [sic] the Italian mob or the Irish mob. If it was the Irish Mob, that was going to be used as collateral for buying arms for the IRA by sympathizers in Boston, which let's face it there were a lot.

"Interesting that he says the two front runners in the present tense, although that is the state seeded disinforming narrative now, but that only began twenty years after the actual heist." In a front page headline the May 14, 1990 Boston Globe read: FBI IS SAID TO HAVE SUSPECTS WORLDWIDE IN GARDNER THEFT. It began: "The FBI's investigation into the $200 million art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has targeted about a dozen suspects scattered across the world, sources said yesterday."

Ten years after the Heist In 2000, W. Thomas Cassano, the FBI "investigator who has overseen the Gardner case since Day 1," said that “There were an awful lot of organized-crime arrests made in the last 10 years, too, but we’ve had no information that way."

In 1997 the Boston Globe reported that "The FBI says it has no evidence linking [Robert] Donati to the [The Gardner heist] crime," and in 2011 reported that "the US Justice Department and close associates of mobster James “Whitey’’ Bulger have long denied any link between him and the art heist."
They had to go all the way to the United Kingdom, to find a Gardner heist expert to claim that the early investigation focused on local toughs since it contradicts the reporting all four of the Boston journalists Gardner heist journalists in this documentary.

In 2013 Kevin Cullen wrote: "So, 23 years after the ­Gardner Museum gets robbed [2013] the feds think the art heist was pulled off by a combination of wiseguys from Boston and Philadelphia."

In 2015 Tom Mashberg reported: The assumptions that he and FBI special agent Geoff Kelly, were forming then [2011] became their active theory of the heist: It was the handiwork of a bumbling confederation of Boston gangsters and out-of-state Mafia middlemen.

In 2017 Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian shared a byline reporting that "The FBI has focused heavily in recent years on theory that local criminals with mob ties were behind the heist.

Here is a link to the complete disinforming transcript of Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode Three.

December 18, 2021

Excerpt From Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode Two Transcript

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Fisher: If we could go back to the scene of the crime now, with DNA and forensic investigations, it'd be a much different crime scene. It's 1990. You had Boston Police first on the scene. By the time the FBI gets there, the scene's been disturbed.

False. By 1990, the FBI was heavily involved with collecting DNA evidence in 1990. "The FBI conducted DNA tests on items taken from the crime scene at the time of theft, but none of the tests produced a usable sample," the Boston Globe reported in 2010, when Fisher was involved with the case investigation as a federal prosecutor.

The FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) was begun in 1990 as a pilot project with 12 state and local forensic laboratories.

Disturbed the crime scene? There were at least seven crime scenes. There were paintings were stolen from three galleries. One of the thieves or their associates appear to have broken into the candy machine on the first floor.

They were also in the conservation room, which was behind a secret door in the Dutch Room. They handcuffed one of the guards in the security station. And they handcuffed that guard to a sink in the basement. Stphen Kurkjian in an email to me wrote on Jan 21, 2016 "I heard they [the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office] were battling. Fisher, the new prosecutor in the case, was frustrated by how little spadework had been done by the FBI." So what Fisher and Kurkjian say privately about the FBI's investigation, and what is said publicly are quite different.

The Boston Police did not have much time to disturb anything at these many crime scenes and have more, a lot more experience around crime scenes than does the FBI.

The FBI was on the scene at the Gardner Museum within thirty minutes of the Boston Police. The first priority of the BPD was on locating the guards. They started on the top, fourth floor and worked their way down. That did not locate the guards until a little before 9:30, after the FBI had arrived on the scene.

Here is a link to the complete disinforming transcript of Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode Two.

December 16, 2021

The person referred to in the excerpt from the complete transcript of "This Is A Robbery" Episode One, below, as the chief of security was actually museum’s deputy director of security, Lawrence O'Brien. A bronze medal recipient, O'Brien was a Viet Nam veteran and a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Despite his rapid response to the robbery, and valor when he arrived at the museum, O'Brien is never mentioned by name except when it is to falsely suggest he was the visitor in the surveillance video, the night before the robbery, in episode Two.

From Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode One Transcript

Karen Sangregory: It was a total normal day. Just coming in to work on Sunday morning in my role to replace the two guys that would've been there all night at the alarm control center desk. Normally, one or both of them would be in there and they would buzz us in. Nothing like that was happening. There was no response, and this was completely unprecedented and very odd.

Too much time is passing. So, I called the chief of security and told him we couldn't get into the building. He said, "All right I'm coming in."

He took us around some kind of a back door. As soon as we got in there, you just knew something is really, really wrong. The security cameras had been turned, the office door had been busted. There was a frame in there. It was like, "Oh." And there was a crowbar leaning against the wall. The chief hands me the crowbar. He's like, "Here, hold this!" And so I'm holding this crowbar and my mind is thinking, "This is part of the scene of the crime, right? This is evidence. My hand prints prints are on this crowbar!" And then my next thought was, "He gave me this so that I can pummel someone with it." It's like I went in with this open vision and curiosity, like, And then it just, like shrunk down really fast. And then it was like, "Where's the guys? Where's the guys?" And then the next thought was, "Are the bad guys still here?"

He picks up the phone and called the Boston police. It seemed like all he could say was, "I'm calling from the Gardner Murder. We've got big trouble. We've got big trouble."

Here is a link to the complete disinforming transcript of Netflix "This Is A Robbery," Episode One.

December 10, 2021

Boston Globe Adds a New Chapter to Their Gardner Heist/Bobby Donati Hoax

The latest Robert Donati disinforming news story from the Boston Globe is just the latest chapter in this Gardner heist, state-seeded, Globe watered, fairy tale, and the amount of disinformation the Boston Globe crams into this one news report, "More than 30 years later, a tantalizing clue in the Gardner Museum art heist surfaces," may take an additional blog post or two for me to attempt to set the record straight, since the article, not only introduces new disinformation but it also references some of the old junk they have reported about Donati in the past, with a fresh, deodorizing spin, and additional lies, which they repackaged as background." This a frequent disinforming trick by Shelley Murphy and Stephen Kurkjian in their Gardner heist coverage.

For instance, this article reports that "Myles Connor wrote in his 2011 [auto]biography he had cased the Gardner museum with Donati years before theft." However, this same reporter, in the same newspaper, Shelley Murphy in the Boston Globe fails to alert readers, that in her own review of that book, she wrote that "the book is clearly shaded by Connor's version of the truth."

And Connor had a strong financial incentive to lie about his connection to the Gardner heist case. His own co-author "Jenny Siler said the hook about the [Connor's] book was the Gardner heist," according to Empty Frames podcaster Tim Pillieri

"And then we [Empty Frames] said "there's only about 10% Gardner content in there [the book] but she [Jenny Siler] says that was the hook to getting the book sold."

"My agent told me a bit about him. Of course the hook for getting me involved and sort of getting everyone involved was his [Myles Connor's claimed] connection to the Gardner heist, my introduction came through that," Connor's co-author Jenny Siler said in the previous Empty Frames podcast episode.

"In the book, Myles Connor associate David Houghton "told him they robbed the Gardner to help negotiate him out of jail. How did you verify that? Empty Frames asked Siler? "Well that was one of the things that only Myles, you know, says," she replied.

Siler also tells Empty Frames that: one thing that everybody should probably know is that Myles, during his last stint in federal prison before I met him, suffered nobody's really sure [??] what happened, he either had a stroke or a heart attack or a combination of the two and so there are small holes in his memory. He's very open to the fact that his memory about certain details might be off and so he encouraged me and helped me find other sources to corroborate everything that had happened.

So in this story, The Boston Globe reports an uncorroborated account, about Donati, from a book the journalist herself reported to be "clearly shaded by Connor's version of the truth," in which the author, Myles Connor, has a strong financial incentive to lie, and advised his co-author, that due to a physical infirmity may not have an accurate recollection of these events anyway.

This is just the first of at least four sourcing problems in this Boston Globe news story.

Another sourcing problems in the story is Murphy's reporting that "in his 2015 book, “Master Thieves,” Kurkjian wrote that former New England Mafia capo Vincent Ferrara claimed that in 1990 Donati confessed to him that he robbed the museum."

Claimed to who? The source on this is not Ferrara, but an anonymous third party. Murphy is reporting what Kurkjian says an anonymous source says, Ferrara says, Donati said, back in 1990, 24 years after the fact, and without advising readers about the fifth hand sourcing of this claim. A source told Kurkjian this almost eight years ago. Kurkjian's book came out almost seven years ago. The Boston Globe never reported this until last week. Obviously, the Globe did not find the sourcing strong enough to justify reporting until now. But things have been changing, and for the worse at the Boston Globe, in terms of its adherence journalistic standards.

In the article, Murphy reports that former jeweler Paul Calantropo came forward at "the urging of a friend." But in a WBUR radio interview she said: "Kudos to Steve Kurkjian. He found this man." Murphy gives Kurkjian for something she never mentions in the article. The sourcing details on the provenance of Paul Calantropo's claims are contradictory and concealed. Like all of the other "evidence," linking Donati to the case, the Globe is unable to deliver their crooked claims straight on.

The article includes a photo, of Calantrop but without his looking at the camera. He appears unaware the photo is being taken, a candid shot of a something far less than candid and credible witness.

And there is no quote where Calantropo says "Donati showed me the finial."

Instead the readers are given: “'Jesus Bobby why didn’t you steal the Mona Lisa?' Calantropo recalled asking him [Donati.]" Kurkjian also likes to invoke Jesus to dramatize his emotional reactions to his made up shit.

In the Netflix documentary: "This Is A Robbery," Kurkjian says of Donati: "Jesus, he's walking around with police uniforms. What's he doing with police uniforms?"

Jesus Steve, he wasn't. That's just another example of poorly sourced information from your faux true book:

In an interview with the Dorchester Reporter Kukjian said that “so much [in his book] is based on speculation that it was hard to write a single thread to carry all the way through a chapter.” Damn. “Over 25 years," Kurkjian added, "so many names have been thrown into this. I had to come up with an overview that worked and conveyed – even if it wasn’t absolutely true– the latest and best idea of who was involved and how they did it.”

Kurkjian had to come up with his own version of the truth. But it's not his fault. It's because “over 25 years, so many names have been thrown into this."

Just a minute here, ten years after the Heist, in 2000, W. Thomas Cassano, the FBI "investigator who has overseen the Gardner case since Day 1," said: “There were an awful lot of organized-crime arrests made in the last 10 years, too, but we’ve had no information that way." So Kurkjian's claim that "so many names have been thrown into this, is not absolutely true, to use Kurkjian's terminology, or "a different version of the truth" to use Shelley Murphy's, but instead just plain old false.

It is revealing though, that Kurkjian says so many names have been thrown into this, which is exactly right. They have indeed been thrown in. There is no basis for any of it, for any of the suspected Gardner heist perpetrators in his book, or in the Boston Globe. It's just Globe enabled state-seeded effort to flood the zone with shit,

So many names have thrown into, but it didn't start right away. In 2005, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan told CNN: "After 15 years, we don't have any significant leads."

A couple of months after the heist the Boston Globe reported that "the FBI's investigation into the $200 million art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has targeted about a dozen suspects scattered across the world, sources said yesterday."

Also, in that Netflix documentary Kurkjian first appears in it, saying: "Jesus Christ. Look at this. Bastards," while appearing to look down at some fresh outrage to decency and civilization in our midst, on a desk. Then says: My name is Steve Kurkjian. I am a retired newspaper reporter with the Boston Globe. I was a founding member of the Globe Spotlight Team."

In the same Dorchester Reporter story Bill Forry reports how "by necessity, Kurkjian dives deep into the underbelly of Boston’s crime syndicates of the 1980s and 1990s."

Not sure how necessary it was, but Kurkjian seems to have taken up permanent residence there, in what is perhaps his true medium.

"Over the past year, Calantropo has been working behind the scenes with an unlikely assortment of sleuths — including a retired law enforcement official, two former [unnamed] convicts and retired Boston Globe investigative reporter Stephen Kurkjian.

Like Anthony Amore with Myles Connor, Kurkjian seems to have moved up the ladder in his role as a high echelon disinformant, to be a handler of others of questionable credibility, inside Boston crime underbelly.

It's too bad the GBH media watchdog TV show, Beat The Press, was officially cancelled in September, and isn't still around to completely ignore this latest example of the troubling state of affairs at the Boston Globe, whose norm breaking defiance of journalistic standards, make them the Donald Trump of the non-conservative news media. It would further demonstrate the existence of the two types of yellow journalism now serving the Boston area about the case: There is the fraudulent, fabulist, facts stifling, yellow journalism of the Boston Globe itself. And there are those members of the Fourth Estate, who are too fearful and self-interested to call out the Globe's race to the bottom, which like Trump's, continues to press further on, and to redefine the meaning of the term.

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