Does Netflix’s This Is a Robbery Fix a 30-Year-Old Art Break-in Mystery?Director Colin Barnicle
a $10 million reward later on, the whereabouts of the art– now worth $500 million– remains unknown. Barnicle hopes laying out the “nuts and bolts” of among his home town’s most infamous criminal activities in the docuseries This Is A Break-in, out on Netflix April 7, “jogs something loose” to finally restore the missing out on canvases to the Gardner’s gallery walls.As children of
former Boston World columnist Mike Barnicle and Anne Finucane, Barnicle and his brother-slash-producing partner, Nick, grew up finding out about the break-in, which was typically the subject of discussion at their parents’ supper parties. “It kind of was just constantly on in the background,” Barnicle recently told Vanity Fair.
In 2015, the director started foregrounding the truths surrounding the theft while also producing documentaries about sports and music, including Billy Joel: New York State of Mind, which won 4 regional New york city Emmy Awards in 2018. He quickly discovered that due to its very little security, the Gardner “was a recognized spot to strike.”
Though no forensic evidence, like fingerprints or hair, was gathered the night of the theft, Barnicle does not blame the Boston Authorities. “This was the FBI’s case. This is on them,” he stated. “They did not secure the crime scene the method they were expected to.”
Once they “recognized they couldn’t roll up the paintings, [that] they had a sizing issue, they started to choose off some little things for themselves … Products they could put in a pocket or fold up … They even went for a flat Napoleonic flag”– but just ended up with its useless finial.
Stephen Kurkjian, an investigative reporter. Thanks to Netflix.Stephen Kurkjian, a now retired Boston World investigative reporter and the author of Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Managed the World’s Greatest Art Break-in, states in the series that a low-level smart man named Bobby Donati is key to the criminal activity. Kurkjian thinks he had the paintings after the theft. Barnicle stated Donati desired the Rembrandts “as a bargaining chip” in case he was jailed. A year after the burglary, Donati’s beheaded body was discovered in the trunk of his car. His murder is unsolved.According to the FBI,
the paintings moved from Merlino in Boston to his mob associate Robert Guarente– an old good friend of Donati’s– who had moved to Maine. They state he gave the art to Connecticut Mafioso Robert Gentile, who is also supposedly a member of the Philadelphia mob. Though the paintings may have gone through the City of Brotherly Love, Barnicle doubts they remained there. “One piece may have, but not the whole canon,” he said. “The Philly mob once stole a Corvette [throughout] the exact same time duration. And they could not offer the Corvette– and that’s an automobile … I do not see what they would be finishing with a Rembrandt.”
Knowledge of the paintings’ whereabouts might now lie with David Turner, the last remaining member of the Merlino gang. The founded guilty felon, who invested 20 years in jail for a stopped working armored-car heist, was released in 2019– after in some way having 7 years shaved off of his sentence. It’s presumed Turner betrayed Gentile, who was also in prison.In 2012, the FBI
raided Gentile’s Connecticut residential or commercial property– packed with helicopters and excavation equipment. The search showed up a pistol, some weed– and a Boston World story about the burglary with a piece of paper listing all of the taken items and their values. Gentile, now 84, was also released from jail in 2019, and rejects any knowledge of the crime.Rather than languishing in some remote area, Barnicle thinks the paintings are close to house.”I would be quite shocked if this things has left the higher New England network of bad guys. I believe they’re most likely stashed someplace in someone’s basement, or perhaps hanging up on somebody’s wall in their corridor. And they just don’t know what it is since it’s a Degas illustration.”And for the record, he states, the FBI agrees.More Great Stories From Vanity Fair– Cover Story: Anya Taylor-Joy on Life Prior To and After The Queen’s Gambit– Zack Snyder Explains His Long-Awaited Justice League Ending– Tina Turner Is Still Haunted by Her ViolentMarriage– Emilio Estevez’s True Hollywood Stories
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