MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — More than a dozen agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are conducting a thorough search of a home in Manchester for clues in their hunt to locate a collection of stolen artwork valued at a half-billion dollars.
The FBI is conducting what it calls “court authorized activity at 69 Frances Drive in Manchester, CT in connection with an ongoing federal investigation.” The address belongs to Robert Gentile, a reputed mobster known as “Bobby the Cook”.
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FBI officials said Gentile is a person of interest in the theft of a half-billion dollars worth of masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on March 18, 1990, which remains the largest art heist in American history. Empty frames still hang on the wall of the museum where the artwork was originally displayed.
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Federal prosecutors have said Gentile mentioned the infamous heist as recently as 2014 during a stint in prison when he claimed to know something about the stolen works. Gentile now faces a federal gun charge that he has claimed the FBI made up to force him to reveal the whereabouts of the artwork.
Gentile’s attorney, Robert McGuigan, says he doesn’t have the art, and that if he did, he would have turned it in to get the $5 million reward.
“What he knows about artwork is a velvet Elvis painting. Just about that,” said McGuigan. “Or, maybe, dogs playing cards.”
“They ain’t going to find nuttin. N-u-t-t-i-n,” MCGuigan quoted his client as saying. “He was very clear about what was in the house, yes.” Gentile’s attorney says his client is 81 years old, and currently awaiting trial in the Wyatt Federal Detention Center in Rhode Island. This is not the first time or even the second time they have been out to search the house, and McGuigan wouldn’t be surprised if they came back again.
“If you look at some of the evidence that they found on the second search, some of it is pretty damning,” McGuigan said, frankly. “I mean, there’s a lot of smoke around my client, and he understands that.”
Guns and drugs have been taken out of the house, but never any art.
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