It was just over 39 years ago that the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College experienced what was likely its worst moment: Thieves broke in on a winter night and made off with three centuries-old paintings valued at more than $400,000.
Two of the paintings were recovered in 1989 following a federal sting operation in Illinois, in which a notorious art thief and bank robber from Massachusetts, Myles Connor Jr., was arrested. He had offered the two paintings as collateral in a drug deal set up by undercover FBI agents.
In a 2009 book, “The Art of the Heist,” in which he details his life of crime, Connor claims he stole both those paintings from the Mead.
But the third painting — a piece by Dutch artist Jan Baptist Lambrechts that is believed to date from the early 18th century — hasn’t been seen since vanishing from the museum Feb. 8, 1975. And Connor doesn’t mention it in his book.