Investigators hope for new clues in the Boston museum robbery

HARTFORD, CONN. – The chief investigator of a Boston museum that is still working to restore the $ 500 million art value in 1990, said on Thursday that he hoped new traces would emerge after the death of a highly scrutinized figure in the case.

A Connecticut mafia who died last week, Robert Gentile, had long been suspected of at one point having some of the pieces taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in history’s largest art booklet. He denied that he had any role or knowledge of the placement of the paintings until the end of his life.

But Anthony Amore, who is also the museum’s security chief, said investigators had not focused entirely on pagans.

“An interesting thing is when masterpieces like these are stolen, they are often recovered and often a generation or two happens after the robberies,” Amore said in an interview. “And sometimes it’s because someone goes away or relationships become strange. And maybe when Mr Gentile dies, someone will feel liberated to talk about what they know. It’s guesswork. It’s hopeful conversation.”

Acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Nathaniel Mendell said his office encourages anyone with information to contact the FBI.

The museum, which offers a $ 10 million reward for information leading to the artwork’s recovery, is conducting its investigation with and in collaboration with the FBI, Amore said.

On March 18, 1990, two men disguised themselves as Boston police officers entered the museum by telling a security guard that they were responding to a report of a disturbance, according to authorities. The guard and a co-worker were handcuffed and locked in the basement while the thieves left with the 13 works of art.

The missing pieces include Rembrandt’s only known seascape, “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of ​​Galilee” and Vermeer’s “The Concert”, one of fewer than 40 famous paintings by the 17th-century Dutch painter.

Federal authorities described Gentile as a person of interest and said he talked about the stolen paintings with other prisoners and once told an undercover FBI agent that he had access to two of the paintings and could negotiate the sale of each for 500 000 dollars. His home outside Hartford was searched several times by federal agents, and he served several years in prison after they found firearms he was banned from owning as a convicted wrestler.

Robert Fisher, who worked on the investigation as a member of the US law firm in Boston until 2016, said that the investigation had probably determined everything there was to know about Gentile’s possible role.

“For me, I was wondering if he really knew or had information about the paintings that he would have given it up before he passed away, especially considering that the reward was now up to $ 10 million,” Fisher said. “If the theory was that he had access to paintings, he had every opportunity to come forward when he was in prison and out of jail and very ill.”

A Boston FBI spokeswoman, Kristen Setera, said the investigation was still ongoing. “We are seriously examining every tip we receive,” Setera said.

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