Authorities have finally cracked the largest burglary ever reported from a Massachusetts residence, the 1978 theft of a Cezanne and six other paintings from the Stockbridge home of collector Michael Bakwin. And who’d been holding on to the paintings all these years? Retired criminal defense attorney Robert M. Mardirosian, 71, who came into their possession soon after their theft when the burglar — whom Mardirosian was representing in an unrelated matter — left them at the lawyer’s residence. (The burglar had intended to fence the paintings right away, but Mardirosian had advised him he might get caught doing that.) Not long thereafter the burglar was slain by criminal associates. Mardirosian created dummy corporations and accounts to hold the paintings and at least twice tried to sell them, but was blocked when the Art Loss Register, which intervenes to prevent the sale of stolen art, took steps to stop that from happening. Mardirosian, who now lives in a gated community in Falmouth on Cape Cod, says he acted from legitimate motives: “My whole intent was to find a way to get them back to the owner in return for a 10 percent commission.” (Stephen Kurkjian, “1978 art heist solved”, Boston Globe, Feb. 1). Plus: updates February 2011 (on attorney’s conviction and return of paintings to owner).