• Man with possible ties to Gardner Museum heist released from prison

    By: Bob Ward

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Nearly 30 years ago, a group of thieves disguised at Boston Police officers pulled off the biggest art heist in history.

    On March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as officers overpowered museum security and helped themselves to priceless work from artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Degas.

    To this day, the art stolen from the Isabella Gardner Museum, worth millions of dollars, has never been recovered.

    Now, a potentially key suspect in the investigation walked out of prison for the first time in 20 years.

    David Turner, who spent two decades in prison for his role in an aborted armored car heist in Easton, is now a free man thanks to a reduction in his sentence.

    Turner, however, has caught the attention of the public eye was being part of the crew that authorities believe handled the Gardner art after it was stolen.

    When asked how it felt to finally be getting out of prison, Turner said, "Wonderful, I'm going to Disneyland."

    Federal authorities believe that a crew led by mobster Carmello Merlino handled the artwork and may have brought it to their hangout, the TRC garage in Dorchester, before moving it out of Boston; possibly to Philadelphia. 

    Turner, police say, was part of that crew.

    Now, as one of the last surviving members of the group, Turner is facing added scrutiny. Here's what happened when Boston 25 News Reporter Bob Ward asked him about the heist following his release:

    Bob Ward: "Do you have any knowledge about the Gardner heist?"
    Turner: "Get away from me."
    BW: "Do you have any idea where those paintings are?"
    BW: "Have you talked to anyone about the paintings about where they might be?"
    T: [Silence, walks away]

    In Connecticut, investigators were led to aging mobster Robert Gentile. Authorities believe Gentile helped move the Garnder art to Philadelphia, offering it to the Philly mob.

    They dug up his property and sent him back to prison, but Gentile would not talk.

    Currently, there is a $10M reward for the return of the stolen Gardner artwork.

    >> MORE: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: 29 years after infamous art heist

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