Robert Gentile: Mobster linked to infamous Gardner Museum heist dies and takes secrets to the grave

FBI suspected Robert Gentile knew where valuable paintings from the largest art heist in US history were

Jade Bremner
Thursday 23 September 2021 15:34 BST

The mobster accused of the largest art heist in US history has died from a stroke aged 85.

The FBI suspected that Robert Gentile knew where valuable paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery of 1990 were, but now Gentile’s alleged secrets will never be told.

Gentile’s lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, broke the news that he had died in Hartford Hospital on Friday.

Thirteen pieces of valuable art, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Degas, were stolen during the museum heist 30 years ago. Robbers were disguised as police officers who responded to a “disturbance call” linked to Saint Patrick’s Day, but once inside they were allowed access to the building, and announced: “Gentlemen, this is a robbery”.

The criminals duct-taped security guards to a pipe before making off with the historical artefacts, which were worth more than $500 million.

Despite being such a high-profile case, with rewards of up to $10 million offered by the museum for the return of the artworks, the stolen art has never been found.

Gentile was well-known to law enforcement, he had an extensive criminal record and served jail time. But right up until his death, he denied that he knew anything about the stolen artworks. “I had nothing to do with the paintings. It’s a big joke,” Gentile said in a 2019 interview with the Associated Press, following his release from prison. However, Gentile allegedly spoke about the art when serving his time.

Missing pieces include Rembrandt’s ‘The Storm on the Sea of Galilee’, and a rare Vermeer painting titled ‘The Concert’.

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