Rick Abbath: Gardner museum guard breaks his silence in CNN documentary

Rick Abbath was one of the two guards on duty the night the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was robbed of $500 million worth of art. Photo Credit: CNN
Rick Abbath was one of the two guards on duty the night the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was robbed of $500 million worth of art. Credit: CNN

For the first time since letting two thieves into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 23 years ago, Rick Abbath, one of the watchmen, is dishing on what happened the night of the infamous heist.

Abbath is featured in 81 Minutes: Inside the Greatest Art Heist in History, a CNN documentary that is already online, but is set to air Friday at 10 p.m, according to an announcement on Anderson Cooper 360′s blog: “CNN’s Randi Kaye has the story of how thieves were able to pull off the biggest art heist in history. In an exclusive interview, Rick Abbath, one of the night watchmen on duty the evening of the crime 23 years ago, talks about what happened inside the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.”

The documentary comes just days after FBI agents said they know who was behind the 1990 art heist, but they’re not releasing names as they believe it will hinder the investigation. Feds did, however, offer $5 million and potential immunity to anyone who may have been involved in the crime and can assist in the recovery of the stolen masterpieces.

Abbath tells Kaye, “The [thief dressed as a cop] that was dealing with me turned to me and said, ‘Don’t I know you? Don’t I recognize you? I think there’s a warrant out for your arrest. Can you step out from behind the desk?’” Abbath obliged, saying he stepped away from the security desk, and the museum’s panic button.

The thieves cuffed Abbath and his partner within seconds, “and very dramatically said, ‘Gentlemen, this is a robbery.’”

They made off with 13 works of art, estimated to be worth $500 million.

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said agents have a “high degree of confidence” that they know who stole the paintings, committing the largest property crime in history, though he did not identify the suspects. The FBI did say, though, that the men are believed to belong to a criminal organization with a base in New England and the mid-Atlantic area.

Watch CNN’s documentary below:

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…