• 'Have a nice life': Key figure in the Gardner Museum heist

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    BOSTON - It has been nearly 29 years since the largest single property theft in history. 

    March 18 is the anniversary of the night two thieves stole priceless works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Fenway. 

    This year, a convicted gangster who is believed to have information on the heist is about to be released from prison.

    Robert Gentile is in jail on unrelated charges, but he's been the focal point of the investigation into the stolen Gardner artworkd for years. 

    Police have twice searched the 82-year-old Connecticut mobster's property, but the paintings remain missing.

    Gentile’s lawyer told Boston 25 News his client’s release this weekend won’t bring the paintings back.

    "It has been the same story for the past ten years. He has no idea where the paintings are," attorney Ryan McGuigan said. "He had nothing to do with the theft of the paintings. Nobody has ever claimed he had anything to do with the theft of the paintings."

    Some people think Gentile won't talk because the mob won't let him. But his attorney says that's not true.

    "I have met with many people on this case and if he had some sort of obligation he has been freed from that," McGuigan said. "And whoever it is that they say might hold sway over him, has told him to give back the paintings if he has them, keep the reward and have a nice life."

    But federal investigators say they consider Robert Gentile a key figure in the case. 

    In 2014, the FBI told Boston 25 News -- in their only sit-down interview about the investigation -- that they suspect Gentile helped move the stolen art to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale in 2000.

    The $10 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen Gardner artwork still stands. 

    And to this day, the fate of that artwork, remains one of Boston’s most baffling mysteries. 

    New England's Unsolved Podcast: The Gardner Museum Heist

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