Thursday, May 29, 2014

Worcester Art Museum Heist was 42 Years Ago

FBI and WPD with the recovered WAM paintings, 1972

     This past week marks 42 years since the Worcester Art Museum was brazenly robbed. It is a seldom discussed, but very important event in the museum's history. On the afternoon of May 17, 1972, during open hours, two thieves (armed with a concealed revolver) entered the museum and removed four valuable works from the walls of the European Galleries: including Gauguin's "Brooding Woman" and Rembrandt's "Saint Bartholomew". While exiting through the Renaissance Court with the paintings, the thieves drew the weapon and shot the Salisbury door guard when he hindered their haphazard escape. Critically wounded, the guard survived, thanks to First Aid care provided by a visitor (Security can be a thankless and potentially dangerous job. Please, on occasion, let the guards know you appreciate it). Due to the efforts of the FBI, Worcester Police and information provided by other criminals, the four masterpieces were returned to WAM mere weeks later.
     Anthony Amore, Chief Investigator and Director of Security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, has co-written a book on the subject, "Stealing Rembrandts". Full of great insight and detail, his book offers a thoroughly researched account of the 1972 Worcester Art Museum Heist, as well as other daring art thefts. Anthony's book can be purchased here: Stealing Rembrandts by Anthony Amore , or you can attend one of his many lectures on Art Theft throughout New England.

Stealing Rembrandts by Anthony Amore