UPDATE: Weekend Break-In at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Ends in Hazmat Incident


At about 9:00 AM on Tuesday January 26, 2021, members of the Boston Police Fugitive Unit, U.S. Marshals HIDTA Task Force Officers and District B-2 Detectives with assistance from the Braintree Police Department located and arrested Robert Viens, 48, of Randolph, in the area of 332 Commercial Street in Braintree following a collaborative investigation by Detective assigned to District B-2 (Roxbury) and District D-4 (South End).

At the time of his arrest, the suspect was wanted on a straight warrant sought out of Roxbury District Court for Breaking & Entering with the Intent to Commit a Felony, Possession, Transportation or Use of a Hoax Device or Substance and Wanton Destruction of Property Over $1200, stemming from an incident that occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on Saturday January 23, 2021.

The suspect was also wanted on a straight warrant sought out of Boston District Court on charges of Receiving Stolen Property Over $1200 (2 Counts) and Vandalizing Property (2 Counts) stemming from an incident at the Arden Gallery on Monday January 11, 2021.

The suspect was transported by the Braintree Police Department to District B-2 (Roxbury) for booking procedures without incident and is expected to appear in court for arraignment later today.

Original Incident:

At approximately 04:39 hours on Saturday January 23rd, security staff at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum called 911 to report someone actively breaking into the museum. Officers from District B-2 responded to the address on Evan’s Way, where they were directed to the rear door of the museum on Place Place. Officers noticed a door where the glass had been smashed, and continued searching the area for a suspect.

Security reported having clear video of the suspect however they were unable to locate the person. While searching the museum, officers located a strange object, which contained a note, which has not been make public at this time, immediately a perimeter was set. An explosives K-9 asset was called to the scene as well as the EOD unit and Detectives.

The package was cleared for explosives however a power substance was found and the area was immediately cleared of personnel and Hazardous Materials specialists from both Boston Fire and Police were called in. The powdery substance as well as the note were contained safely and have been sent to the lab for further analysis and testing.

At this time Boston Police confirm there have been no arrests however an active investigation as well as search for the suspect are ongoing. As always, Community members wishing to assist this investigation anonymously can do so by calling the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1 (800) 494-TIPS or by texting the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).