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The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser

The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser

Author:Ulrich Boser
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: HarperCollins


9. SELF-PORTRAIT

I Was the One

MYLES CONNOR spent the night of the Gardner robbery sleeping in a Chicago prison cell, awaiting sentencing on stolen property charges, the final coda of a crime spree that had lasted more than three decades. An elfin man with frosty blue eyes and a mop of brilliantly red hair, he was one of the country’s most infamous art thieves. He had pocketed Dutch Old Master paintings, swiped ancient Japanese dragon statuettes, pilfered Colonial-era grandfather clocks. Once, while out on bail, he filched a Rembrandt from a Boston museum and arranged for the return of the painting a year later in order to lessen his prison sentence in a different art crime. A member of Mensa, an ex-rock ’n’ roller who once headlined for the Beach Boys, Connor was smart and merciless and shrewd, the sort of criminal who had earned a black belt in karate by the time he was eighteen and always made sure to pronounce it kah-dah-tay.

The day after the Gardner heist, or perhaps the day after that, a federal agent appeared in front of Connor’s cell. He wanted to speak to the art thief. Connor had arranged heists from prison before, and the agent grilled him about the Gardner robbery. He asked Connor about his crew back in Boston, what he knew about the museum, anything that he might have heard about the missing paintings. Then the agent took Connor’s fingerprints. The art thief had once escaped from a Maine prison by making a pistol from a bar of soap, and in the summer of 1989, less than a year before the Gardner robbery, Connor sawed a five-inch hole in the ceiling of his Illinois holding cell and would have most likely broken out of the jail if he hadn’t been betrayed by a fellow inmate. On that March day in 1990, the agent wanted to be sure that one of the country’s most notorious art thieves had not escaped in order to commit one of the country’s most notorious art thefts.



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