There are several pieces of information that are of interest when evaluating the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist suspects. The first is where the person was a the time of the heist. How old were they at the time of the heist? The thieves were believed to be in their 20s or 30s. Are they alive today? If so, could they have the paintings? If not, were they murdered? Could the murder be related to the heist? Have they been arrested since the heist? If so, did they try to exchange information on the heist with authorities? What role could the individual have played in the heist? What is the status of the suspects on these points?
Myles Connor (1943-): In prison at time of heist. Admits to casing the museum with Bobby Donati. He has tried and failed to negotiate the return of the paintings. Currently living in Massachusetts.
Associated with: Bobby Donati, David Houghton, William Youngworth III
William Youngworth III (1959-): In prison at time of heist. He has tried and failed to negotiate the return of the paintings. Currently living in Massachusetts.
Associated with: Myles Connor
James “Whitey” Bulger (1929-): He was too old to be one of the thieves, but he has a Boston mod boss at time of the heist. He may have inside information on the heist, or he may have been in possession of the paintings at one time. Currently in prison (probably for life).
Associated with: The Winter Hill Gang, Steve Flemmi, Frank Salemme
David Turner (1968- ): He was 22 and living Boston at time of heist. Based on his age, appearance, and criminal background he could have been one of the thieves. He is suspected of murdering several suspects in the heist including Charlie Pappas and Lenny DiMuzio. If Turner wasn’t one of the thieves he may have murdered them to get the paintings. Or he may have murdered his accomplice to protect himself from getting turned in by an informant. He is currently serving 38 years in prison and is due to be released in 2032.
Associated with: Carmello Merlino, Charlie Pappas, George Reissfelder
Charlie Pappas (1967-1995): He was 23 and living in Massachusetts at the time of the heist. Murdered in 1995, and discovered in the trunk of a car. Turner is believed to be behind his murder. He could have been one of the thieves.
Associated with: David Turner, Carmello Merlino
Bobby Donati (1941-1991): He was 50 and living in Massachusetts at time of heist. He was murdered in 1991. The Gardner Museum guards described the thieves as being in their 20s or 30s, and Donati was much older. He cased the museum with Connor, and had a history of art theft, so he is a plausible suspect except for his age. If he wasn’t one of the thieves he may have helped to plan the heist. There have been reports that he was a police informant, which may explain why he was murdered. His body found in the trunk of a car, a sign that his death was mob related.
Associated with: Myles Connor, David Houghton, Robert Guarente
David Houghton (died in 1991): In Massachusetts at time of heist. He weighted 300 pounds, which doesn’t match the description of the thieves. Connor says that Houghton told him that he and Donati were the thieves. He died in 1992 from heart disease.
Associated with: Myles Connor, Bobby Donati
Lenny DiMuzio (1947-1991): He was 43 and in Massachusetts at time of heist. Murdered in June 1991, like Donati, his body was found in the truck of a car.
Associated with: Carmello Merlino
George Reissfelder (1940-1991): In Massachusetts at time of heist, but was too old to match the description of the thieves. He died in 1991 from a drug overdose, his body was found by Carmello Merlino. After his death his brother claimed he saw the Manet at George’s apartment. George’s lover said that he was one of the thieves.
Associated with: Carmello Merlino, David Turner
Stephen Rossetti (1954-) He was 37 at the time of the heist and living in Massachusetts. His uncle Ralph had plotted to rob the Gardner Museum in 1982 but was arrested for another robbery for he got the chance. Steve’s cousin Mark Rossetti was a mob boss and a FBI informant, who may have been able to feed investigators false information to protect his cousin. He is currently serving a 51 year prison sentence for plotting to rob an armored car with David Turner and Carmello Merlino. Rossetti may have partnered with Turner and been one of the thieves, or he may have inside information on the heist through his mob connections.
Associated with: David Turner, Carmello Merlino, Ralph Rossetti’s nephew, Mark Rossetti’s cousin, Robert Guarente’s nephew
Ralph Rossetti (1919-1998): Although he was too old to be one of the thieves, he plotted to rob the Gardner Museum in 1982, and may have helped plan the 1990 heist. He is a connection between the Gardner Museum and Merlino’s crew, and his nephew could have been one of the thieves. He died in 1998.
Associated with: Carmello Merlino, Steve Rossetti’s uncle, Mark Rossetti’s father, presumably new Robert Guarente
Carmello Merlino (1934-2005): He was too old to be one of the thieves but he was a Boston mob boss at the time. He may have plotted the heist with Turner and Rossetti. He attempted and failed to negotiate the return of the paintings with authorities in 1992. He was arrested in 1999 with Turner and Stephen Rossetti for attempting to rob an armored car. He died in prison in 2005.
Associated with: David Turner, George Reissfelder, Steve Rossetti, Ralph Rossetti
Joe Murray (1946-1992): He was a drug runner in Boston at the time of the heist. An informant said that he bought the paintings from the thieves. He was shot and killed by his wife in 1992.
Associated with: Whitey Bulger, Patrick Nee
Patrick Nee (1943-): Informants linked him to the Gardner artwork, but he denies any involvement. Some thing that he could have sent the artwork to the IRA. He was arrested in 1991 for an attempted robbery of an armored car. He is currently out of prison and living in Boston.
Associated with: Whitey Bulger, Joe Murray
Stephen Flemmi (1934-): He was associated with many of the suspects but wasn’t a suspect himself. He is currently serving life in prison for 10 murders.
Associated with: Winter Hill Gang, Whitey Bulger, Joe Murray, Patrick Nee
Frank Salemme (1933-): He was a Boston mob boss at the time of the heist, who may have acquired the artwork. In 1995 he went to prison for racketeering and obstruction of justice. He went back in 2004 for perjury. He has been released from prison and it is assumed is in the Witness Protection Program today.
Associated with: Whitey Bulger, Steve Flemmi, Carmello Merlino, Robert Guarente
Brian McDevitt (1960-2004): He was living in Boston at the time of the heist, but moved to Los Angeles shortly after. Early on investigators suspected he was one of the thieves. He died in 2004 of natural causes.
Associated with: he wasn’t associated with the mob or any of the other suspects
Robert Guarente (1939-2004): Although he was too old to be one of the thieves, he is linked to many of the suspected thieves. He may have acquired the artwork after the heist. His wife said that he handed off a painting to Robert Gentile. He died in 2004.
Associated with: Bobby Donati, George Reissfelder, Carmello Merlino, Stephen Rossetti’s uncle, presumably knew Ralph Rossetti, Robert Gentile
Robert Gentile (1937-): He is suspected of having information on the current location of the stolen artwork. He was arrested in 2010 and is in prison awaiting trial. It is likely he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Associated with: Frank Salemme, Robert Guarente
- -White Male
- -Late 20’s to Mid 30’s
- -Medium build
- -Dark short cropped hair
- -Dark eyes
- -Boston Accent
- -White Male
- -Early to Mid 30’s
- -180-200 lbs.
- -Broad shoulders, otherwise lanky
- -Dark eyes
- -Blank, medium length puffy hair
- -Fair complexion and round face