Whodunit?

By MIKE MILIARD  |  March 18, 2009

MC: Yes, the Woolworth Estate. But, uh, anyway, the FBI agent, they'd been after me for a while. And the agent said, "We'll get you now, Connor, let's see you get out of this one." And that was like the gauntlet that was thrown down in front of me. When he said that, it was like, "Let's see what you do to get out of this one." And I remember thinking at the time exactly what I was gonna do, which is steal a painting worth several million dollars and bargain my way out of it.

So that was the impetus that set the mechanism in motion as to why I was gonna take the painting. And from there it was simply what to take that was worth a ton of money. And the Rembrandt was the most accessible at the time. There were other paintings in other museums, but that particular painting was the most accessible.

And so I put together a crew, and I went up to the painting, myself and another friend, we wore disguises, and we grabbed the painting off the wall and then came down. Of course, we knew that there would be an alarm posted, not by the painting itself but by the guard that was up there, so of course he yelled out, and when we came down to the front of the museum, we had other people down in the foyer of the museum to intercept any guards that might have interrupted our proceeding down to a van.

JS: One of the really ingenious things about the plan was that at the time the Fenway entrance to the museum, the Fenway was just kind of a swamp, and that whole area had fallen into disarray. And nobody ever used the Fenway exit. And they were able to park their vans right outside the exit, buy tickets, go in, literally just grab the painting off the wall and run off with it.

Do you think you would have been able to be an art thief in this day and age, with all the computerized security systems? Were things a little easier back then?

MC: Oh, I think they have not changed one bit. To my knowledge, it can be done the same way. If you want to be brazen enough, I've robbed other museums in other fashions, but most museums, if you wanna go in there, you've got a crew that can be around security guards when the thing happens and just control the security guards with a gun. . . . To my knowledge they do not have any automatically locking doors or anything like that. But should they, then you can just simply control that by controlling the person who controls the alarms. You can simply march him right up front along with you.

JS: It's interesting, some of the biggest art heists in the last 10 or 20 years were done in exactly the same way as the MFA was done. The. . .

MC:The Scream.

JS:The Scream, exactly the same way. So people are still doing it. I think it's sort of a myth, don't you, Myles, that they have these big screen doors that come down.

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