It’s been called Boston’s last great unsolved mystery: Early on the morning of March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as policemen forced their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tying up security guards and vanishing into the night with 13 artworks valued at half a billion dollars. Nearly three decades later, no one has been charged with the crime, and despite a $10 million reward, none of the artwork — including paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Manet — has been recovered.
Now The Boston Globe and WBUR are teaming up to create “Last Seen,” a weekly investigative podcast about the heist that debuts Sept. 17. The 10-part series will be hosted by WBUR senior producer Kelly Horan and reporter Jack Rodolico, with major contributions from Stephen Kurkjian, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former Globe reporter and editor and author of the 2015 book “Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist.”
“Twenty-eight years later, this unsolved crime still exerts an irresistible curiosity in pop culture, and we’re excited to offer WBUR and The Boston Globe’s first true-crime podcast on this significant case originating in the city where it happened,” said Iris Adler, executive director for programming, podcasts, and special projects at WBUR. “ ‘Last Seen’ has obtained unprecedented access to the case files, first-ever interviews, and is the result of a year of investigative reporting by our team to unravel the crime’s many mysteries for our listeners.”
Jane Bowman, vice president, marketing and strategic partnerships at the Globe, said the podcast will offer listeners fresh perspectives on the heist and investigation.
“Our reporters have spoken to key people who have never before publicly talked,” she said. “They have seen places and documents that no other reporters have seen before. Their work even led federal authorities to conduct a high-stakes excavation in a residential neighborhood in Florida. It all comes together in a provocative look not only at the crime and all the colorful characters around it, but at the investigation that has failed to solve it.”
Opening the night of the crime, “Last Seen” features in-depth interviews with many of the case’s principal investigators, as the hosts venture to Philadelphia, Florida, Ireland, and Italy to examine various suspects and scenarios. The podcast also features an interview with Richard Abath, the watchman who let in the robbers; the first-ever interview with a second museum security guard on duty that night, as well as interviews with journalists, the notorious art thief Myles Connor, and family members and attorneys for various suspects, many of whom have died during the course of the lengthy investigation.