FBI Puts Up Billboards in Philly Area for Gardner Heist Awareness Campaign

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As part of its renewed campaign to recover the 13 priceless artworks stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, the FBI has been placing billboards along highways in the Philadelphia area — where they tracked the paintings to over a decade ago, and whose organized crimes groups they believe know more than they’re saying —like Route 93 (above) or alongside Route 30 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. “I think it’s really interesting they put those signs up in Lancaster County,” Demuth Museum director Anne Lampe told Lancaster Online. “I do think we have become such a society that moves around a lot, that they are probably spreading a wide net.”

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The bright red billboards proclaim loudly “STOLEN ART” and reiterate the offer of a $5 million reward, alongside giant reproductions of the works involved, like Rembrandt‘s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (at top), or Rembrandt’s self-portrait sketch (above). The billboards include the phone number at which the FBI’s art crimes unit can be reached: 1-800-CALL-FBI.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Top image via AFP; bottom image via Lancaster Online, by Dan Marschka.)