The following is an excerpt from Michele Mcphee and Brian Ross | May 3, 2016 | abcnews.go.com |
The search for missing art stolen more than two decades ago from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has taken FBI agents to six continents around the world. But the most active lead seems to be in the backyard of an aging mobster in a small town in Connecticut.
Boston FBI field office spokeswoman Kristen Setera confirmed to ABC News that the “FBI is conducting court-authorized activity at 69 Frances Drive in Manchester, [Connecticut], in connection with an ongoing federal investigation,” but declined to comment further.
It is the third time the FBI has executed search warrants in and around that particular ranch house, the home of Robert “Bobby the Cook” Gentile, who is currently serving a 2-and-a-half-year federal sentence on unrelated drug and gun charges that came with his 2015 arrest by the FBI.
Gentile, who pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges, has repeatedly denied any connection to the stolen art and once famously muttered in court that his involvement in the heist was “lies, lies, all lies.” His lawyer, Rome McGuigan, told ABC News that his client knows nothing.
"He laughed and he couldn’t believe they were, that they were at his house again, and he said, this is a quote, ‘They ain’t gonna find nuttin,’" McGuigan said.
Among the stolen pieces were three Rembrandts, including his only seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," along with one of only 31 known works by Vermeer, "The Concert."
In a court filing obtained by ABC News, McGuigan alleged that the government was using the drug and gun charges as a way to force his client to produce the Gardner Museum paintings. He also said that the government had used informants to prod him into “talking about the paintings.”
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