“This is a Robbery” is sure to steal your attention

Isaac Cho, Staff Writer

Are you interested in organized crimes? Mysterious cases that have gone unsolved for years? If so, then “This is a Robbery” is the perfect series for you. This four-part Netflix documentary released on April 7, 2021, unravels the mystery behind the robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and goes into detail behind the motives and criminals involved. 

The robbery occurred March 18, 1990, on St. Patrick’s Day, a day filled with drinking and partying. In other words, this day would be the perfect distraction to pull off an enormous art heist. 

Although crime was very prevalent in the 90s, it was extremely unlikely that someone would attempt to rob a museum. Since this sort of crime was so uncommon, night guards working at the museum would typically pass their work hours by doing a quick scan around the building and then basically take the rest of the night off. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a fatal mistake for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

Late that fateful night, the police discovered that the museum had been robbed. 

Rick Abath, the security guard of the museum that night, had done his nightly walk around the museum like any other night, and headed back to his desk to spend the rest of the night watching the clock.

However, strangely enough, two police officers had showed up to the museum late that night, requesting to be buzzed in. Not wanting to cause any trouble, Rick unlocked the front doors from his desk and allowed the two men to enter the museum. 

They came into the main entrance of the museum, and asked Rick to step away from his desk, claiming to be here to arrest him. Hours later, Rick was found in the basement of the museum, handcuffed and duct-taped. The rest of the museum was trashed and was now missing 13 paintings. 

These 13 paintings alone had a value of 200 million dollars back in 1990, which would value  roughly to 405 million dollars currently.

Following the robbery, police officers, the FBI, news reporters had arrived on the scene. However, the perpetrators as well as the paintings were nowhere to be found.

At this time, stolen art had become an international currency. It could get you money, drugs, information, time off your jail sentence, anything of value, and that’s what made cracking this case so difficult. Being such highly sought-after items meant that these pieces of art could virtually be anywhere, and with anyone. The suspects of this case could range from simple thugs to large mafia leaders.

And as the years went by, more and more evidence seemed to point towards the Italian mob that resided within Boston, causing even more chaos and mystery to swirl around the case. However, if you wish to find out more about the story, I highly recommend you watch it yourself.

Personally, my favorite scenes from the series were the ones interviewing Myles Connor. As a former art thief himself, Myles was a prime suspect at the time of the robbery. The scenes where he talks about the intricacies of stealing art and pulling off the heists were extremely entertaining to listen to. You can feel the high intensity of the situations and feel as though you are at the scene of the crime. You can truly feel in his shoes when he tells his stories.

Additionally, the cinematography was stunning throughout. Cryptic shots of the museum at dark help set the tone of the series, and act as a staple for setting the mood for the audience. Going hand in hand with the cinematography, the music also played a crucial part in immersing the audience. The swelling of music over gritty images of crime scenes helps provide a feeling of unease, and helps to better depict the psychological states of the individuals involved in the crime and those who were working to solve it.

I would say that, overall, “This is a Robbery” had me thoroughly entertained and interested, and I definitely recommend watching this series if you are interested in learning more about this particular case and the people involved. The series goes into depth with many perspectives, ranging from police officers, court lawyers, to even former art thieves. The high stakes of the heist combined with the mystery surrounding the actions of the criminals had me on the edge of my seat the entire time watching and  kept me wanting for more, and I believe that this is a good watch for anyone interested.