Amherst College, FBI reopen 1975 Mead Art Museum heist investigation

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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.

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