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Randolph man arrested in connection with vandalism at Gardner Museum, according to police

The interior of one of the wings of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The interior of one of the wings of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.David L. Ryan

Boston police arrested a 48-year-old Randolph man Tuesday morning for allegedly vandalizing the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum over the weekend and for receiving stolen property on Jan. 11 from the Arden Gallery on Newbury Street, according to authorities.

In a statement, police identified the suspect as Robert Viens, who was arrested in Braintree by Boston police and US Marshals with assistance from Braintree officers.

Viens was wanted on multiple charges stemming from the Gardner incident early Saturday, according to the statement, including breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony; possession, transportation or use of a hoax device or substance; and wanton destruction of property over $1,200.

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In addition, police said, he was wanted on charges of receiving stolen property over $1,200 and vandalizing property from the incident at the Arden Gallery.

Arraignment information wasn’t immediately available, and it wasn’t clear if Viens had hired a lawyer. The police statement didn’t detail the evidence allegedly connecting Viens to the crimes.

The Gardner Museum said Tuesday that staff “acted quickly” to prevent further damage early Saturday after a vandal broke the glass of an emergency door and tossed a suspicious package into the property before fleeing on a bike.

“Museum Security acted quickly to prevent entry or further damage, and first responders from the Boston Police and Fire Departments responded and secured the scene and evidence,” according to a statement from the museum, which also said that Boston police were investigating.

Nothing was stolen from the museum, and no one was injured, said Officer Kim Tavares, a Boston police spokeswoman, in a phone interview Monday.

“The person made no attempt to enter the building,” Tavares said.

Shortly after 4:30 a.m. Saturday, the suspect used a “hard object” to smash a glass exterior door on the Palace Road side of the museum, near the rear of the building, Tavares said.

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He discarded the suspicious object before fleeing, and the department’s bomb squad responded to the scene, but no explosives were found, Tavares said.

On March 18, 1990, thieves posing as police officers entered the museum and stole 13 works of art. The burglary became one of the best-known art heists in history and remains unsolved.

The Arden Gallery “represents contemporary mid-career artists who are internationally collected,” it says on its Facebook page. “Styles include: still life, figurative, landscape, abstract.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.