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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

This is a Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist

Streaming on Netflix / Film & TV

On March 18, 1990, two men dressed as cops entered Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and declared, “This is a robbery.” A new documentary series named after the now infamous line examines the world’s biggest art heist, which resulted in the disappearance of 13 paintings worth a total of $500 million, including works by Degas, Manet, and Vermeer, plus Rembrandt’s only seascape. This is a Robbery doesn’t bring back the stolen pieces, but it rejects reigning theories—such as that the heist was orchestrated by the IRA—and points fingers at a network of Boston crime bosses, while delivering a captivating narrative complete with interviews, never-before-seen crime-scene photos, and the first published portrait of suspect Bobby Guarente, something even the FBI was never able to secure. Director Colin Barnicle got it through a family member—one of the perks of spending seven years investigating the robbery alongside his brother, Nick, an executive producer on this four-parter. —J.V.

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