White Collar Crimes Really Occur:1990 Boston Art Theft

01If you enjoy “who dun its” without much violence, sex, or profanity, you might like the White Collar TV series.* Okay, so maybe you’ve been watching it on TV since it first came out in 2009, but we don’t have a TV, so I just heard about it from Daniel and Brianna a couple of months ago. Alan and I have gradually worked our way through the first three seasons (all that are available on DVD so far) while tread-milling side by side at night. Although the plot is definitely engaging, what I like best about White Collar are the characters. The real-deal hero (as far as I’m concerned), is an F.B.I agent named Peter Burke. He’s a true “good guy” role model (for kids and adults). For a starter, he’s morally upright and genuinely loves his wife, (who is also an A+ wife and human being generally). Peter is also bright,  hard-working, well-mannered, and always gets his man…but not without the help of his C.I., a brilliant ex-art thief (Neal Caffrey) on loan from the prison who works with/for Peter in lieu of spending years behind bars. “Will Neal really reform and join the Light side?” is the question woven throughout the series. Neal’s very unconventional sidekick and partner both in crime and solving crime is another loveable character. Mozzie looks like a teddy bear, spouts quotable quotes, is pretty much a wizard and true friend to the end, and has a heart as soft as butter beneath his neurotic, comedic exterior. Together, the four of them (plus a couple of other amazing F.B.I. agents) solve upscale crime after crime. It’s a light-hearted series that made me laugh and shake my head, & I suspect we’ll watch the next seasons when they’re available.02Of course, one of the questions that kept coming to my mind as I watched was, “Could this really happen?” I don’t know if you noticed Monday’s CNN news or the Wall St. Journal article yesterday, but the answer is, “Yes!” In 1990, two thieves dressed as policemen prevailed on a night watchman to let them into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (one of my personal favorites… marvelous works and pretty much everything is G-rated).  Eighty-one minutes after tying up the watchman, they walked out of the museum with 13 items valued at $500 million. March 18th, was the 23rd anniversary of this crime (which is the largest property theft in American history). The crime remains unsolved, although the F.B.I. thinks they’re getting close, and they’ve been Rembrandt's Storm publicizing the paintings in the hopes of recovering the art.** There’s a $5 million reward for anybody who has a lead that actually helps restore the paintings, so check above your granny’s mantel just in case she’s unknowingly showcasing your Uncle Moffia’s copy of a Rembrandt that looks so real you’d think it was. Maybe it is!04The subject of art theft and forgery became table talk in our family after the kids watched How to Steal a Million when they were little, and from playing an old game from my parents’ basement called “Masterpiece” (which we still play). Despite the levity, it has been one of the passions of my heart to be the opposite of a forgery; to be sincere and honest…the “real deal.” I have always been impressed by Nathaneal in the scripture, who was commended by Jesus for being “without guile.” Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could all live up to Philippians 1:10, “That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ.”  I may not be an artist, but we all paint pictures though the way we live every day. May our lives be genuine masterpieces!

*The series is “PG,” not “G,” so there were a few scenes we fast-forwarded… (just in case you have young kids). ** Picture of Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Gallilee” and article from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.

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