Gardner Museum Heist —Blog

The Boston Globe and the New Fabulism

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Part Three

One especially compact, one-stop-shopping example of the Boston Globe's extensive and ongoing Gardner heist investigation fabulism occurred in an article, which appeared in their June 12, 2017 edition.

Written by Stephen Kurkjian and Shelley Murphy, the headline read: "Evidence in Gardner Museum thefts that might bear DNA is missing." The article revealed, in the third paragraph, that "the FBI, which collected the crime scene evidence, lost the duct tape and handcuffs, the thieves had used to restrain the museum's two security guards." As it said in the second paragraph it "disappeared."

While Kurkjian stated In an interview less than two years later, that "I remain intrigued as to how the FBI could have muffed the investigation at several key points," this article has none of that.

Less than half of the article relates to the lost duct tapes and handcuffs, which were brought into the museum and left behind by thieves. The rest is a disinforming historical review, conjuring up an FBI response to the Gardner heist, in which evidence mishandling is an exception, rather than, yet another example, fitting a consistent pattern of error, neglect and inexplicable inaction by the FBI.

Instead what is delivered, by the dissembling duo, responsible for this news story, is a fabulistic outpouring of fabricated FBI actions and investigative progress, a baker's dozen of egregious errors, of kissing up to the powerful, and punching down at the vulnerable, when needed, obscuring the very bad impression, this article might otherwise give readers about the FBI's Gardner heist investigation. if the story and its history were presented with professional integrity.

Kissing up: "The FBI announced in 2010 that it had sent crime scene evidence from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to its lab for retesting."

In fact, The FBI did not announce that and did not do that they said. There was nothing in the original news story about this by Kurkjian that suggests any kind of announcement. The word "announce," in any form, does not appear in the original story.

And the FBI contradicted the claim there was any new initiative to resubmit evidence, after the story was published. Ten days after the original story 2010 story ran, the Boston Herald reported that "the FBI told the Herald that a published report asserting that the bureau was 'resubmitting' previously obtained evidence from the crime for DNA analysis 'on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the theft' is not correct."

Kissing up: "Federal investigators searching for a break in the world's largest art theft were stymied by the missing handcuff and duct tape."

They had plenty of time and opportunity to submit the evidence for DNA and other analysis. "The [FBI's] Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) began in 1990 as a pilot project with 12 state and local forensic laboratories."

The word "stymie" suggest their efforts were thwarted, while the totality of the evidence in the public domain suggests they were just going through the motions in terms of identifying and apprehending the criminals.

In 2010, FBI said they had been sending items for DNA analysis all along, if that were true for the duct tape and handcuffs, there would be a paper trail marking the transit of this evidence, prior to it being lost.

The duct tape and handcuffs brought into the museum and left by the robbers could have been examined for other kinds of evidence as well, besides DNA evidence. A manufacturers mark, patent number or something else might help reveal where the handcuffs came from. Security guard Abath claims he was handcuffed to an electrical box, but it does not appear he was handcuffed at all in the crime scene photos. How many sets of handcuffs, which were lost, were collected by the FBI from the Boston Police?

The state and condition of the duct tape that was removed from Abath could also tell whether he was duct taped for seven hours as he claims or seven minutes as he appears in the crime scene photos. How much stretching was there on the tape underneath his jaw and around his wrists and ankles? Were the chemical reactions between Abath's skin and the adhesive on the duct tape consistent with having been applied for seven hours as the guard claims?

Abath wrote in a book chapter he posted on Facebook that he has been diagnosed with "ADHD severe type." He also told CNN: "I was afraid that they were going to set the place (the Gardner Museum) on fire after they were done." Was Abath's story that he feared for his life and that he was confined in the basement for seven hours, supported by the condition of the duct tape? We will never know. .

Punching Down:: The story reports that "in 2010, the FBI began focusing on Gentile after the widow of another person of interest in the theft, Robert Guarente, told agents that her late husband had given two of the stolen paintings to Gentile before he died in 2004.

The "widow," is not even mentioned by her full name, in this article, which appeared less than a year before Maine resident, Elene Guarente died. Much of the official narrative, about Gentile's possible involvement, especially at the outset of their interest of him is based on the uncorroborated word of this one person who is not even treated as a person, but the widow of another deceased person. And not even Elene Guarente corroborates the story attributed to her in this article.

Five years earlier, in 2012, in an article co-written by Kurkjian, it was reported that "[Elene] Guarente, 61, said in a reluctant interview Friday that she provided her best recollection of the piece [of art she saw] to the federal agents and later to a federal grand jury investigating the theft. She told the Globe that her recollection of the painting did not match any of the paintings and sketches authorities showed her," of the stolen Gardner art.

This article contradicts what the Globe reported about what Guarente herself told them, does not mention her full, and is reported as if this previous interview never happened. .

The 2012 interview was the last we heard from, but not about Elene Guarente, who died after a sudden illness eight months after this story ran in the Globe of a sudden illness.

Embellished stories quickly appeared about her regarding the Gardner heist first in Last Seen podcast, and then in the documentary "This Is A Robbery," when she had no means of defending herself.

Punching Down:: "The lost evidence marks another setback in an ongoing investigation that has been plagued by the deaths of suspects, defiant mobsters, fruitless searches, and a litany of dashed hopes."

No suspects have ever been named, although some have been seeded by federal investigators into the media through compliant spinners at the Boston Globe, Boston 25 News TV and WBUR radio, and then disseminated further via amplifigandizing news aggregators, who use these sources to write their "original" stories.

The dead suspects, are Marine Corps Viet Nam veteran, Leonard DiMuzio, the victim of an unsolved homicide, Robert Donati, also an unsolved homicide victim, and George Reissfelder, who was released from prison after 15 years, because he was determined to be innocent of the murder for which he had been convicted and incarcerated.

There is no evidence against any of these so called suspects. There is a strange, uncorroborated, second hand, and dubious account from Boston jeweler Paul Calantropo that Donati showed him the stolen Gardner Museum eagle finial in the Boston Jeweler's building, shortly after the heist. But nowhere is there a quote in the story where he makes this claim.

All of three of these suspects survived at least a year after the Gardner heist and none were ever questioned about the case by investigators. DiMuzio was arrested two months after the Gardner heist for armed burglary along with David Turner and neither was questioned about the Gardner heist at that time.

Punching Down:: "The Gardner heist is "an ongoing investigation that has been plagued by...defiant mobsters."

Were the mobsters defiant or did they simply just not know anything. Does anyone want to defend the integrity of "mobsters"? Of course not, so the assertion goes unchallenged, though in 1994 the New York Times reported, "the theft seems to have generated little underworld street talk, as if some fearsome crime clan had clamped a lid on, or killed the actual thieves, which may, in fact, be another possible clue."

Or, alternatively, as if the crime was perpetrated by people who were not part of or associated with the local, criminal "underworld street," and that explains the silence.

Two months after the heist, The Boston Globe reported on its front page 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." Kissing up: "The lost evidence marks another setback in an ongoing investigation that has been plagued by the deaths of suspects, defiant mobsters, fruitless searches, and a litany of dashed hopes."

All of these things the Globe mentions that the investigation is plagued by, "the deaths of suspects, defiant mobsters, fruitless searches, and a litany of dashed hopes as setback are not the fault of, not within the control of the FBI.

Despite non-interviewed eyewitnesses, poorly interviewed witnesses, lost evidence, ignored evidence, understaffing, the shutting out of the museum, other law enforcement agencies, and the public from their standard participating role plus lost evidence, uncollected evidence and ignored evidence, the Globe reports the FBI is the victim of bad luck.

In any case, it is not a setback. Apprehending the Gardner heist criminals is a non-going investigation. The FBI knows who did it. It was stated by U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, and others in authority that they have no intention or authority to prosecute anyone for the Gardner Museum robbery.

The FBI is covering up who the thieves are. They said so at a 2013 press conference and several times after that. Amore said they identified from a tip they received in 2010. So they admit to knowing who the thieves are for at least seven years before this story ran.

"Officials said at a Boston news conference they would not release the names of the individuals who masqueraded as police officers to gain entry in the early-morning robbery at the Gardner exactly 23 years ago."

From the same article: "DesLauriers said that because the investigation is continuing it would be "imprudent'' to disclose their names or the name of the criminal organization. He said the probe was in its "final chapter.'' He also said "that knowing the identity of the culprits has 'been opening other doors' as federal agents continue their search for the missing artwork."

The next day FBI SAIC Richard DesLauriers said in an interview on WGBH: "We're not in a position to identify those responsible, because it would hinder our ongoing investigation and it would hinder our ability to vet new information and to analyze new information as it is coming in," the FBI's SAIC in Boston Richard DesLauriers told Emily Rooney on Greater on March 19, 2013 nearly nine years ago. That was nine years ago. This explanation no longer makes any sense. If knowing who the thieves were had been opening doors for the FBI, it might very help if the public was made aware of the identities as well. Just because they announced their cover up does not mean it is not a cover up it just means it is not a secret cover up.

In this environment, of a coverup in plain sight, for perfectly not understandable reasons, this kind of evidence, handcuffs and duct tape, potentially creates more problem and solves nothing, given the publicly stated intention to not identify the thieves.

It seems pretty certain that the FBI knows exactly who the thieve are, given that the Gardner Museum's chief investigator Anthony Amore said in 2014, they had engaged with the thieves. "I can't talk about specifics about the thieves and what I know from them. All I can say about them is that they cannot lead us to the paintings today."

No one on the record or off said the missing evidence was a setback. This is just the reporters conjuring up an investigation where something like that would be a setback, but the evidence does not support that.

The missing evidence was a potential problem, the public's awareness is less so, especially when you have reporters shilling and spinning out a non-investigation as if it were an actual one.

If it was a setback, it was a setback for someone over twenty years after the heist, not from the FBI, but someone in the U.S. Attorney's office under Carmen Ortiz (Robert Fisher) who decided to do the FBI's job and was brought up short. Now in the private sector, where they expect results, Fisher now appears on disinforming Gardner heist programming like Last Seen Podcast, and Netflix This Is A Robbery, saying things like, "You had Boston Police first on the [Gardner heist crime] scene. By the time the FBI gets there, the scene's been disturbed."

Kissing up: "In the days after the robbery, FBI and Boston police crime scene analysts scoured the museum for clues" Fact: The Boston Police were taken off the case the day of the robbery. The BPD did not scour anything the day after or in the days after the robbery. Two months after the robbery the Boston Globe reported.

"In the wake of the robbery, FBI agents scoured the Gardner Museum for clues." So they lifted this from an old news story, then falsely added in the Boston Police.

From Kurkjian's own book published three years earlier: "Boston police were pretty much taken off the scene of the investigation by the feds, and we never could quite understand why that was the policy. Our robbery squad knew every wise guy in the city and had some reliable informants. They grew up and lived in Boston. Why wouldn't they hear things during an investigation?" - Boston Mayor Ray Flynn
Master Thieves page 96

This claim spreads around the potential blame for the missing evidence, and through falsehood conceals how the FBI took complete control of the investigation, and evidence collected, and then proceeded to lose the only evidence given them by the Boston Police, listed in the Boston Police report except for the guards' personal papers.

The FBI is the only agency that could have scoured the museum, but there is no evidence that it did. In at least 5 crime scenes (3 galleries, security station, basement) and the FBI has never made public the existence of any meaningful physical evidence, except the handcuffs and duct tape, which they lost.

"Not a fingerprint, footprint, hair, DNA sample, clothing fiber, nothing... The robbers operated completely off the CSI radar - a neat trick considering that the security guards said they weren't wearing gloves." "Loot" 2007 by ex-FBI Gardner Heist Investigator Thomas McShane

Not really such neat a trick considering who was doing the searching. A museum employee found six tiny screws from a frame left by the thieves on the floor of the Short Gallery after the FBI gave the all clear to re-open it, according to Kurkjian, a couple of years after this story ran. "They don't notice this until the museum is about to open two days later," Stephen Kurkjian said. "They've cleaned up the entire crime scene and all of the evidence is gathered. But they're vacuuming all of the rooms before they've opened them. Before they open the museum for attendance again and the vacuum cleaner click, click click click. picks up and they open it up and they see these six tiny screws that had been dropped on the ground. And they go up and they see the thing [a banner] had been kept in place [in a frame] by two [remaining] screws that the bad guys couldn't get out. But they do notice, wait a second, where's our finial." And that's how it was discovered the finial was stolen too.

Kissing up: "The statute of limitations on the theft expired years ago." This is false. According to Andover, MA defense attorney Robert Lewin, "The Statute of Limitations for Larceny (never mind assault and battery and false imprisonment) in Massachusetts is 6 years from the date of the offense. The 6 year period begins to run on the date of the alleged crime; the 6 year period is tolled (i.e. does not run) during any time periods that you were not a "usual and public resident" of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

So if the thieves fled the state, the statute of limitations is not up. Making this claim takes pressure off the government from the public to pursue the perpetrators, or for the public to expect answers about who was responsible, while the FBI is not held into account in having it both ways by claiming it is an ongoing investigation.

Kissing up: "Four years ago, the FBI announced it was confident it had identified the thieves - local criminals who have since died." The FBI did not say the thieves were dead until 2015, two years after this story ran (not four) at the time when the historic 2013 press conference occurred. The significance of this is that the FBI changed their story, from what they said four years from the time of this story two year later, but Kurkjian and the Boston Globe keep pretending that this is what they have been saying along to avoid undermining the credibility of the FBI's not remotely credible investigation.

Here's what the FBI said four years after this story ran: "The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence that in the years after the theft, the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region, and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft." Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston office, 2013

Kissing up: "Federal authorities allege that Gentile offered to sell some of the stolen paintings to an undercover FBI agent in 2015 for $500,000 apiece." No federal authority has alleged that. Federal authorities acknowledge that Gentile was set up in an attempted FBI sting. An FBI informant (not an FBI agent), who was paying Gentile protection money for a made up marijuana distribution business, with money provided by the FBI offered to buy the art and Gentile strung him along for a while, probably to keep the protection money flowing, but eventually backed off.

Hartford Courant January 2, 2016. "The money was meant to reinforce a fiction the FBI hoped would induce Gentile to produce the art. [Sammy] Mozzicato said he and Bowes were claiming that they had created a marijuana distribution network and were flush with cash. More to the point, they told Gentile they had a way to earn even more - the rich New Jersey dealer who was buying their pot had devised a foolproof plan to cash in on the Gardner art."

Kissing up: "The thieves then left them the (two guards) handcuffed in the museum's basement as they spent 81 minutes slashing and pulling masterpieces from their frames." The crime scene photos clearly show that Abath was not handcuffed to anything, and in fact was not handcuffed at all.

FBI first responder and photographer John Green said in the Netflix documentary This Is A Robbery: "I may have gotten there about 9:15 or so. Those shots [crime scene photographs] there were taken by the BPD (Boston Police Department). They photographed Rick [Abath], Randy [the other guard] was in the other shot. But they seemed to concentrate on Rick and how he was taped up. He was duct taped. His head and his hair in a roundabout fashion. And then his hands were bound. Which I thought was kind of odd. They had a little pad.

Green makes no mention of handcuffs. The crime scene photo shows that Abath's wrist were duct taped, not handcuffed, with a little pad in between his wrists. Also Abath told CNN in 2013, he could see after a short time. So the only thing keeping him from making his way upstairs was some duct tape on his wrists behind him and around his ankles.

Kissing up: "The thieves wrapped duct tape around the hands, eyes, and mouths of the two guards on duty." Fact: No tape around guard Rick Abath's mouth, nothing to keep the guard from yelling out, which he never did. After an hour in the Museum Boston Police discovered Abath in the basement. The kissing up of the FBI extends to a certain extent to the guard Rick Abath, as well, who the state seeded narrative protects for whatever reason, although these reporters and investigators do make a transparent show of casting aspersions at Abath from time to time.

Kissing up: "Spent 81 minutes slashing" Fact: "The paintings were cut pretty clean." Anthony Amore "Very neatly" former FBI Gardner Heist investigator Robert Wittman in "Priceless."

Slasher thieves better fit the local toughs image the FBI was trying to suggest were responsible for the theft at that time. "In 2010, the lead agent in the case, Geoffrey Kelly, Kelly said that after years of investigative work, he believes that the heist was done by local criminals and not international art thieves. He said he based his opinion primarily on the thieves' rough handling of some of the artwork, including smashing or cutting some of the paintings from their frames," the Globe reported, which makes even less sense if is not particularly true.

The slasher movie treatment does not exactly foster a dispassionate look at the facts. The two thieves, actually, spent less than half the time they were in the museum, inside the galleries where art was stolen, so not 81 minutes

In 2015, it was reported by the New York Times, that Kelly believes it was the handiwork of a bumbling confederation of Boston gangsters and out-of-state Mafia middlemen, many now long dead.

So the inaccurate slashing story helps support the false, deflecting unsupported by any real evidence, official narrative, that the thieves were ordinary, local street criminals.

Kissing up: "The FBI, which collected the crime scene evidence, lost the duct tape and handcuffs." Later in the same story: "police officers who removed the tape..." OK so the FBI did not directly "collect" the duct tape, and handcuffs, they took control of the duct tape from the BPD "police officers," who collected it. Obviously, they collected it or they could not have lost it. According to the Boston Police report, the only evidence they turned over the FBI, except the guards' personal papers, were the duct tape and handcuffs.

So much fabulism, in the in a single 1627 word article. The next blog post in this series explores how various fabulist threads of the Boston Globe's preposterous, patently false state seeded narratives about the Gardner heist investigation have been ensconced themselves, within the mainstream, nonconservative news media landscape, by the Boston Globe, and its ownership, through the newspaper itself as well as other Boston Globe projects, and their strategic partners.

Part Four

by Kerry Joyce

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