The FBI believes that a 75-year old Manchester man might have information about one of the most infamous art heists in history, according to the Hartford Courant.
Robert Gentile, a 75-year old Manchester resident with alleged mob ties, appeared for a bail hearing in a U.S. District Court in Hartford on Wednesday on a drug arrest in February, according to the Courant, but federal prosecutors told the judge that they believed Gentile had knowledge of the whereabouts of 13 priceless paintings stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March of 1990.
The theft occurred early on the morning after St. Patrick's Day, according to the Gardner Museum, when two thieves dressed as police officers gained access to the museum, bound the security guards and made off with 13 paintings in total, including works by Rembrandt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet and rare work by Vermeer. The Courant estimates that the 13 paintings could be worth more than $500 million in total.
Federal prosecutors sought to deny Gentile bail Wednesday because, according to the Courant, he has had "unproductive discussions with the FBI about the missing paintings," but also because he has had involvement or is a suspect in numerous other crimes dating back to the 1950s, including a plot to rob armored cars transporting money from the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
At one point the 75-year old Gentile, who walks with a cane, confronted the federal prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham, during a courtroom recess and told him "Lies. Lies. It's all lies," according to the Courant.
U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny declared Gentile too dangerous to be granted bail, according to the Courant. He is being held in prison in Rhode Island.
To this day, the Gardner Museum continues to offer a $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the paintings.