The Usual Suspects: The Gardner Heist

Myles Connor; oil on canvas; 2009; Charlie Sabba; in the private collection of Oliver Samuel Hendry.


Harold Smith; renowned art theft investigator and art loss adjuster; oil on canvas; 2009; Charlie Sabba; in the collection of Oliver Samuel Hendry.

    Harold Smith Investigator. Mr. Smith has represented, Lloyds of London, American insurance companies and other foreign insurers for over 50 years, in the handling of fine art, theft and jewelry losses, as well as damages to objects of art. Over and above that, Mr. Smith has been a security consultant for Lloyds, for the leading jewelers, museums and art galleries in the United States, as well as overseas.

   As a representative of Lloyds of London he is one of a small circle of American private investigators specializing in art theft and jewelry. He has continuously handled cases involving Sotheby's, Christie's, the Smithsonian, the Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum, University of Chicago Museum, Tiffanys and other jewelers, museums and art galleries, as well as private collectors throughout the United States and abroad, including the largest gold robbery in the history of the United States, fake Rembrandts, master thefts from museums and others.The profession involves him with a wide range of people affected by the art and jewelry world, including FBI agents, curators, crooks, appraisers, restorers, artists, Scotland Yard, Interpol and famous international collectors.


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   Rebecca Dreyfus is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work legendary film critic Stanley Kauffman has called "a testament to what film can do in the hands of a good documentarian: turn fact into truth."

   Ms. Dreyfus' current full-length film STOLEN is the fascinating and outrageous story of the largest unsolved art heist in American history. This film is an in-depth exploration of this unusual crime as well as a testament to the power of great works of art. STOLEN will be released in theaters in the spring of 2006 and will be included in the Emmy award-winning PBS series Independent Lens in 2007.

   Her first award-winning feature film entitled Bye-Bye Babushka opened to critical acclaim in New York and Los Angeles and has been shown on television in more than twenty-five countries including PBS in the United States. Her two short films The Waiting and ROADBLOCK have also earned prizes around the world as well as national and international television broadcasts.

   Ms. Dreyfus resides in New York and holds a BFA in film from SUNY Purchase. She has received numerous fellowships and grants for her work from institutions including The Sundance Film Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Jerome Foundation, The Roy W. Dean Foundation and Women in Film. She is currently at work on a romantic comedy.


Julian Radcliffe: Director of the Art Loss Register which has offices in London, New York, Paris, Cologne, and Amsterdam; Oil on canvas; 2009; by Charlie Sabba; in the private collection of Oliver Samuel Hendry.


Brian M. McDevitt; Oil on canvas; 2009; by Charlie Sabba; in the private collection of Oliver Samuel Hendry.

   Brian McDevitt has long been eyed as a possible suspect in the Gardner Museum heist. Brian M. McDevitt, 43, was twice questioned by the FBI and testified before a grand jury. Investigators zeroed in on McDevitt because of his involvement a thwarted heist at the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, N.Y. - a crime that bears a strong resemblance to the Gardner caper.

   McDevitt and an accomplice, Michael B. Morey, were arrested in December 1980 after their plans to rob the Hyde museum derailed. They had hijacked a Federal Express van, knocked out the driver with ether and donned the courier company's uniforms. They carried handcuffs and duct tape to bind the guards and tools to cut the paintings from their frames. The plan unraveled when the van got stuck in traffic, preventing them from arriving at the museum before it closed.
Identified by the FedEx driver, McDevitt was convicted of attempted robbery and served time in prison.

   McDevitt was publicly identified as a suspect in the Gardner case in a 1992 story in The New York Times and spoke to "60 Minutes" about it in 1993. "This was clearly an operation that somebody paid for," McDevitt said on the CBS-News show. "The only way that you can get those paintings for your collection is that you pay somebody to go in and steal them. I mean, that's what, that's what I used to do." The enigmatic McDevitt, who always denied robbing the Gardner, was convicted of five felonies in all, including a Boston safety-deposit theft of $160,000 in cash and bonds. He died on May 27, 2004, of apparent kidney failure.

   Almost immediately after the art museum was robbed, McDevitt moved to California, where he passed himself off as an award-winning freelance screenwriter and secured a position in the Writers Guild, before being thrown out when his credentials were questioned.

   McDevitt attended but was eventually expelled from Bates College, where he drove an MG and passed himself off as a Vanderbilt - a falsehood he would also later use in Glens Falls. He attended UMass-Boston in the 1980s. "He always projected himself in a high way," said Jeffrey Earp of Lynn, who graduated with McDevitt from Swampscott High. "He seemed to be on the path to great things. Then, surprise, he was in the news."