FBI search at home of suspect in missing Gardner Museum artwork

FBI searching at home of suspect in missing Gardner Museum artwork

MANCHESTER, Conn. — FBI agents on Monday searched the Connecticut home of Robert Gentile, a suspect in the largest art heist in history.

The bureau has long believed Gentile was involved in the theft of $500 million in artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

The FBI confirmed only that agents were at a home in Manchester conducting a court-authorized activity as part of a continuing federal investigation.
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“You've got that little blue tarp up, they're kind of just digging around, doing another search of the yard, looking for these paintings, I guess,” Brandon Lowrey, a neighbor, said, as he watched the search in amazement from his backyard.

Evidence Response Team agents were seen digging around the side of the Frances Drive house and using police dogs in their search.

In March 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers overtook security guards and stole the 13 masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, Govaert Flinck, and Vermeer. The pieces were never located. 

In 2013, the feds said they know who took the art, but wouldn't name names, although Carmello Merlino, Robert Guarente and Gentile became the widely known suspects.
Merlino and Guarente have since died.
Gentile is currently in custody on a federal weapons offense.
FBI officials said they determined the art had been transported to Connecticut and Philadelphia, but they do not know where the artwork is currently located.
In his first televised interview, FBI Special Agent Geoff Kelly, the lead investigator, told FOX25's Bob Ward the trail for the 13 missing works of art hasn't gone cold.
The stolen artwork was last seen on sale in Philadelphia in 2000. Kelly believes Guarente turned over the pieces to Gentile, who, with his alleged ties to Philly's organized crime scene, may have been able to smuggle the art into the city.
Gentile has denied having anything to due with the Gardner heist.
“I spoke to him a few hours ago, and he laughed and stated, ‘They ain’t gonna find nothing,’” Gentile’s attorney Ryan McGuigan told FOX25 at the scene of Monday's search. “He has maintained adamantly that he doesn't know where the art is, that he doesn't have it, doesn't know who has it.”
The FBI is offering a $5 million reward. People with any information can contact the bureau at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Missing works of art include:

  • Vermeer, The Concert
  • Rembrandt, A Lady and Gentleman in Black
  • Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
  • Rembrandt, Self-Portrait
  • Govaert Flinck, Landscape with Obelisk
  • Manet, Chez Tortoni
  • Degas, La Sortie de Pesage
  • Degas, Cortege aux Environs de Florence
  • Degas, Program for an artistic soiree (1)
  • Degas, Program for an artistic soiree (2)
  • Degas, Three Mounted Jockeys
  • Chinese Beaker or Ku
  • Bronze Eagle Finial