Mobster Thought to Know Location of US’s Biggest Art Heist Loot Is Near Death

He’s implicated in the 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Vermeer, The concert (circa 1663-1666). Courtesy Wikimedia commons.

Robert Gentile, the mobster who has long been suspected to harbor knowledge on the whereabouts of the stolen art in the case of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, is said to be near death, according to his attorney Ryan McGuigan.

The 1990 art heist of 13 paintings at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has made the history books as the largest in American history, resulting in a loss of over $500 million. To this day, none of the works—including Rembrandt van Rijn’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee (1633) and The Concert (1664) by Johannes Vermeer—have been recovered.

Though he was due to stand trial last month, Gentile’s failing health delayed the court scheduling. McGuigan further requested a mental evaluation to determine whether he was fit to undergo the trial process.

In regards to the paintings, his attorney maintains his client’s innocence. “He said, ‘Yeah, but there’s no painting,’” McGuigan said in a statement to the Guardian. “His story has never changed in the six years that I have represented him.”

Despite such claims, a 2012 search of Gentile’s home uncovered a handwritten list of the stolen art, its estimated value and police uniforms, according to the Guardian. (Fake police uniforms were donned by the thieves during the looting.)

Furthermore, a court hearing held last year saw federal prosecutors asserting that Gentile had told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to at least two of the stolen paintings and could sell them for $500,000 each; the conversation was said to be secretly recorded.

McGuigan acknowledged that the deterioration of his client’s health plays a role in locating the stolen paintings, assuming Gentile is privy to information regarding the works’ whereabouts: “I told him that if there ever was a time to give up some information that you haven’t yet, that I don’t know, this would be it,” he said.

Yet the likelihood of a deathbed confession seems slim, as the mobster continues to defend himself and his innocence. As artnet News previously reported, upon the FBI’s most recent search of his home in May 2016, Gentile said, “They ain’t gonna find nuttin’.”


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