BOSTON (CAP) - The FBI has announced new developments in the case of the decades-old unsolved theft of $500 million of art from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Although authorities have not disclosed the identities of the individuals suspected of this crime, they have confirmed that they know without a doubt that the thieves who boldly looted the museum 23 years ago are, in the words of one investigator, "Definitely male - or possibly female. It is likely that he, she, they, or it are also fond of art. Or at least, were at some point."
According to law enforcement officials, evidence supports the theory that the suspects, whose names have not yet been released to the public, are also fluent in English, Spanish, or another language.
"We have reason to believe the thieves communicated with one another - orally and perhaps in writing - before, after, and possibly even during the actual heist," said the lead investigator on the case, who refused to reveal his identity to the press, although he was wearing a badge which read Special Agent William Larson, as well as a name tag reading Hello, My Name Is with Bill scrawled in marker beneath it.
He added, "I can also confirm that some or all of them are currently living in the continental U.S., if they are in fact living, and that for the most part they are just awful people. Criminals, in fact."
Officials have begun an advertising campaign to to raise public awareness of the stolen masterworks - in the event that one of the paintings happens to be hanging behind the reception desk of a Holiday Inn, or is perhaps being used as a coaster by an unsuspecting individual.
Billboards featuring an image of one of the famous paintings, along with an 800-number and the words "DID YOU STEAL THIS? DO YOU KNOW WHERE IT IS? IF SO PLEASE TELL US - SINCERELY, THE FBI" will be erected throughout New England.
"We are working hard to ensure that someday soon these paintings will be restored to their rightful place - or, that other painters will be inspired enough to step it up a notch and paint some better paintings to replace them," one official related to the case told reporters.
He added, "It is also our hope that the art thieves are reading this very article right now - perhaps while sitting at a diner in Cleveland or Nantucket, or maybe Iowa ... Am I getting warmer, guys? Someone, cough if I am. If they are, and if by extension they are still living, I hope they know that a 23-year-old net is closing in on them, and fast."
He declined to offer further proof of this, saying that while they could easily identify the suspects to the public, "we don't feel like it right now." He then added, "I am being serious."
The official then asked if anyone in the press might have possibly seen any of the paintings, appearing deflated when no one had.
- Molly Schoemann