The most likely suspect Mr. Gentile was arrested recently through an effective sting operation related to the Gardner art theft from Boston Museum which took place 20 years ago.
20 years ago, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was the center of a theft worth $500 million on 18th March, 1990. Till now, the case remains unsolved, culprits not arrested and the FBI still frustrated over their failure to recover the art.
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Most of the suspects to the theft have died. There remains one who is a strong favorable suspect; Mr. Robert V. Gentile who was arrested when he sold a .38 Colt to a dealer. The dealer was actually an informant for the FBI. He received a thousand dollars for his sale but FBI caught up to him. The gun he sold was actually from the loot from the museum.
This is not the first time a sting operation has been led against Mr. Gentile. He has been on the FBI’s suspicious person list for a long time. Gentile was already on probation for the first sting led against him in 2013. Then he was arrested for possession of illegal arms and narcotics. He was released on probation.
So how much does the FBI need to actually keep him behind bars and recover the stolen artwork. Mr. Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan protested to the arrest saying that the FBI was actually squeezing in on his client who knew nothing about the art.
At a hearing in United States District Court in Hartford on Friday, a federal prosecutor, John Durham provided evidence that Mr. Gentile has been having phone conversations about the sale of the items that had been stolen. When the authorities looked around his house, they found a price list for the items that had been stolen, according to NYTimes.
They had been after Mr. Gentile since then. They even made a deal with Mr. Gentile for $5 million if he would disclose the location of the stolen items. Mr. McGuigan said that his client was being corroded into a large incentive for information he did not possess.
FBI has their reasons though, Mr. Gentile performed poorly on the lie detector test. Mr. McGuigan defended his client by saying that his client had diabetes and required a wheelchair to be transported.
Furthermore, he was visiting his parole officer the day he supposedly sold the .38 Colt. He also questioned why the FBI had waited so long to arrest Mr. Gentile if he was perceived to be a threat to people?
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He blamed Geoff Kelly and James Lawton, the lead agents on the Gardner investigation, for their lack of efficiency. Mr. Kelly is convinced that Mr. Gentile is a part of organized crime which was involved in the theft at the museum and has underworld associates in Philadelphia. Mr. Gentile will appear in court on Monday where his fate will be decided.