"Master Thieves" : Gardner Museum heist reporter/author Stephen Kurkjian in Charlestown -- 11/9/2015
"Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off The World's Greatest Art Heist," with author Stephen Kurkjian. Monday, November 9, 2015, 7:30 pm, at the Charlestown Branch Library, Charlestown, MA.
It is a case defined by superlatives -- the largest art theft in history, carrying the world’s largest reward offer, longer on the FBI’s list of biggest unsolved art crimes than any other save one. Two men disguised as Boston Police officers trick their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum after midnight, tie up the two night watchmen and make off with an estimated half billion dollars worth of artwork including three works by Rembrandt and a Vermeer masterpiece.
Now 25 years after the theft, Stephen Kurkjian, who was the principal reporter on the case for The Boston Globe for years, has written a gripping account of the still-unsolved heist of a quarter century ago. In Master Thieves, Kurkjian reveals how the two criminal gangs battling for control of the Boston under-world knew of the museum’s poor security and that one had a motive to pull off the theft -- to fashion an exchange that would result in the release of its leader from federal prison.
"Steve Kurkjian is the best reporter in America."
(Dick Lehrer, coauthor of Black Mass)
Further background on the author:
A Boston native, Stephen A. Kurkjian spent 37 years as an editor and reporter for The Boston Globe before retiring in 2007. During his career, he shared in three Pulitzer Prizes and won more than 20 regional and other national awards. Globe columnist Brian McGrory once called him the “most feared and respected” reporter in New England."
Kurkjian was a founding member of The Globe’s investigative Spotlight Team, and its editor for 1979-1986. In 1986, he was named chief of The Globe's Washington Bureau and for six years oversaw the work of the paper's 10 reporters in Washington. In addition, while at the bureau he covered the Supreme Court, the Justice Department and the Bush White House during the first war in Iraq.
Returning to Boston in the early 1990s, he completed numerous investigative projects from The Globe newsroom including the clergy abuse scandal inside the Boston Archdiocese;
His 2005 article of the theft of 13 pieces of artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is regarded as the most complete account of the still-unsolved crime. This year his book on the heist, Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled off The World’s Greatest Art Theft, was published by Public Affairs (c2015). The book has drawn praise from reviewers from The New York Times, Boston Globe and Kirkus Review.
Educated in the Boston public schools, Kurkjian is a graduate of Boston University and Suffolk University Law School. He is a non-practicing member of the Massachusetts Bar. www.stephenkurkjian.com
Further background on the Friends:
The Friends of the Charlestown Branch of the Boston Public Library was formed in 1953, becoming the second Friends group to organize within the Boston Public Library system. The Friends schedule four to six evening programs a year, support the Reading is FUNdamental programs for children, and maintain the library’s landscaping. The mission of the Friends remains today what it was in 1953: to serve as an advocacy and support group for the needs of the Charlestown Branch Library, its staff and users. Visit www.friendsofcharlestownlib.org and www.bpl.org/
“A gripping, revelatory book. Master Thieves is not only a thrilling
heist story but a feat of investigative reporting. The kind of book
you can only write if you’ve lived with a story for twenty years.”
(Mitchell Zuckoff, author of 13 Hours and Frozen in Time)
Mary Curtin [c/o Friends of Charlestown Library]