Decades after the Gardner heist, police focus on guard
March 10, 2013
Richard Abath and a second night watchman arrive to work the midnight to 7 a.m. It is the first time that the second man, a full-time guard during the days, is working the midnight shift as he was called in to replace the regular night watchman who has called in ill.
Abath, on the first round of the museum's galleries, passes through the Blue Room on the first floor of the Museum.
Building’s fire alarm system inexplicably goes off and Abath abandons rounds to respond to the alarm box in the museum's basement.
Two men dressed in police uniforms sit in the front seats of a Hatchback parked on Palace Road 100 feet away from the employees' entrance of the museum. They are viewed by several youths who have left a nearby party and are engaging in horseplay on Palace Road.
Abath back on his rounds passes through the Blue Room.
Abath opens and shuts the Palace Roard door then returns to man the security desk.
The two men, identifying themselves as Boston Police officers, ring the buzzer at the Palace Road door and demand entry. Abath at the security desk buzzes them in and they tell him to summon the second night watchman to the desk.
Handcuffed and tied up, the two night watchmen are led to separate places in the basement of the museum. The thieves make their way up the main staircase to the second floor and the Dutch Room. Here the thieves remove five paintings – three by Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Lady and Gentleman in Black, an etching, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Vermeer’s, The Concert; and The Landscape with an Obelisk, by Govaert Flinck. In addition, they take a bronze beaker from the 12th century BC Shang Dynasty in China.
One of the thieves heads to the Short Gallery and from it take five sketches by Edgar Degas and a golden final in the shape of an eagle that rested atop the pole support for a Napoleonic silk flag.
Both head back to the second floor staircase.
Palace Road door opens and shuts for a minute’s time. At 2.45 opens and shut for a second time.
The two guards on the morning shift are unable to gain entry to the Gardner as Abath and the second night watchmen remain bound and gagged in the museum’s basement. The two guards call Larry O’Brien, the deputy security director, at his home and O’Brien enters the museum by using a rear door key. When he gets inside, he calls Boston police emergency line.
Police find Abath and second guard bound and gagged in basement.