C.A. Sarsfield tells the true story of one of the greatest art robberies in US history

The feast of Ireland’s national saint, Patrick, is celebrated around the world on March 17th. Here in Ireland, most towns and cities will explode with colour, music and dance in celebration of Irish faith, culture, history and heritage. But it is to America that we look for the biggest St. Patrick’s Day event, which was started in New York in 1756.

This was quickly followed by Boston and since then the yearly celebration has grown bigger and bigger. It was under the cover of these celebrations that one of the most daring and well-planned robberies took place.

Around midnight on Sunday morning, March 18th, 1990, while many of the people of Boston were still enjoying their huge annual St. Patrick’s celebrations, a large red truck with lights off, slowly pulled up near the rear entrance of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Inside the truck, two men, dressed in full police uniforms, took little notice of the vast amount of people heading home after the day’s celebrations. Showing no sign of nerves, the two men remained sitting in the truck until most of the people had left the area.

Then, and only then, did they exit the truck and without a flicker of tension they quickly approached the door and pushed the buzzer, informing the guard who answered that they were policemen and had received a report of a disturbance in the courtyard. They told him that they needed to investigate.

Although he was new to the position, he was aware of normal security procedure, and the fact that it did not allow him to grant entry to anybody but with his partner on patrol, and the fact that he was unsure if the rules applied to police officers, he opened the door and allowed entry.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own