Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Monday, February 27, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Have Information On Gardner Art Heist, 2012, This is What Awaits, Arrest & Indictment, Official

Mobster Suspected Of Knowing About Art Heist Indicted On Drug Charges

Federal Authorities Believe Robert Gentile, Of Manchester, Knows Whereabouts Of Paintings Taken In 1990 Museum Theft,0,1365801.story

Federal prosecutors signaled Monday that they may try to confiscate mobster Robert Gentile's Manchester home after indicting him and a partner for the illegal sale of prescription painkillers.

Outside of a forfeiture allegation directed at Gentile's suburban ranch and $22,000 in cash hidden in a grandfather clock, the indictment made public Monday by federal prosecutors appears to formalize the drug charges on which Gentile and partner Andrew Parente were arrested earlier in the month.

The Feb. 10 arrest of Gentile, 75, created a stir in legal circles because of the relatively small amount of illegal narcotics involved in the alleged sales and because law enforcement authorities suspect he may have information concerning the spectacular 1990 theft of hundreds of millions of dollars of paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Three Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas were among the works that vanished in the Gardner heist — the biggest art theft ever and, nearly 22 years later, one of the most baffling. Investigators assigned to the unsolved heist have encountered nothing but dead ends.

Two of the stolen paintings — "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Rembrandt's only known seascape, and Vermeer's "The Concert" — could be worth than $50 million each in an open market. All the stolen artworks might be worth $300 million or more. But because of the notoriety of the missing pieces, any kind of sale would be difficult, if not impossible, to arrange.

Gentile, a made or sworn member of the Mafia, has repeatedly denied having knowledge of the theft or of the location of the paintings, according to sources. He is known to have associated with crime figures in Boston but was inducted into the Mafia through a faction of the Genovese crime family in Philadelphia, according to a variety of sources.

Documents detailing the drug charges against Gentile and Parente remained sealed to the public Monday. The six-count indictment made public by the U.S. Attorney's office accuses the two men of conspiring to possess and distribute prescription painkillers such as oxycodone. Parente, who lives in Hartford, has been a suspect in drug sales for decades, police sources said.

Parente is named in two counts of the indictment, charged with conspiracy to sell drugs and the sale of oxycodone in November. Gentile is named in all six counts related to drug sales.

All but one of the drug offenses allegedly took place in October and November.

Gentile was charged with a drug offense on Feb. 10, the date FBI agents discovered a relatively small amount of apparently illegally obtained pain medication during a search of his home. But the same search turned up what a federal judge called a "veritable arsenal" of weapons, including guns and silencers. The $22,000 in cash was found hidden with a set of brass knuckles.

A federal judge characterized Gentile as dangerous, based on an inventory of the search, and ordered him held without bail.

It is a crime for a convicted felon, such as Gentile, to possess weapons. He has not been charged with weapons offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The forfeiture count in the indictment applies only to Gentile. It seeks to allow the government to confiscate property or money attributed to criminal activity. The forfeiture specifically lists Gentile's home and cash discovered during the search of his home.

Art Hostage Comments:

Like most things surrounding the infamous Gardner Art Heist of 1990, this latest estimation of the value of two stolen Gardner artworks, Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea and Vermeer's The Concert is way off the true value.

Proof being the price of $250 million paid recently by the Qatar Royal family for a version of Paul Cezanne's "Card Players", meaning the Gardner Museum's Vermeer has to be worth much more, or at the very least on par, $250 million. Same with the Rembrandt Storm on the Sea, his only seascape, again $250 million would be a reasonable estimate.

Paul Cezanne Card Players Sold:

To further show just how undervalued the Gardner Museum's missing Rembrandt and Vermeer are we only need to look at the estimate for a version of the Edmund Munch "Scream" being offered for sale at Sotheby's later this year, which carries an estimate of $80 million.

Scream For Sale:

As to Robert Gentile, well he has got what William Youngworth got back in the 1990's when he offered to recover the Gardner Art.

The FBI over-egging relatively minor charges to put pressure on.

William Youngworth served three years plus in jail without breaking.

Robert Gentile can expect the same treatment and because of his advancing years the likelihood is he will die in jail, not because of the possession of painkillers, but the allegations of him having knowledge about the Gardner Art Heist and the current whereabouts of the art.

So, for anyone who may have information about the Gardner art heist, this is what awaits, this is the reality, no if's, not buts, no deals.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, No Mercy, 22 Years On, The FBI Bulldozer Keeps Rolling

Bobby Gentile's self-built Manchester Home

Can A Mobster Solve Art Heist?

FBI Agents Think Robert Gentile May Have Information About 1990 Boston Theft

In court last week, his handcuffs off and his 250-plus pounds settled on a hard, wooden chair, wiseguy Robert Gentile turned to his wife and children in the gallery and complained.

"No razor," the 75-year old Gentile whispered, scraping at his jaw with an imaginary razor. "No shave. No shower. No nothing."

He had been locked up on drug and gun charges for four days, since Feb. 10, when FBI agents charged him and an associate with selling prescription painkillers.

When agents searched his house and a backyard shed, they found everything from pistols and silencers to two, 6-foot elephant tusks.

The weaponry alone constituted a "veritable arsenal," a federal judge said.

But, arsenal aside, law enforcement interest in Gentile appears to lie elsewhere: The FBI suspects the old-school Hartford hustler could have inside information about the world's biggest, most baffling art mystery — the theft on March 18, 1990, of 13 masterworks from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Three Rembrandts, a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas vanished. Two of the paintings — "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Rembrandt's only known seascape, and Vermeer's "The Concert," each could be worth than $50 million in an open market. All the stolen pieces might be worth $300 million or more.

The circumstances of the arrest have started speculation that the drug case is an effort to leverage Gentile to talk about the Gardner job, if he has anything to talk about.

"I can't say that's what the criminal case is about," Richard S. Cramer, Gentile's court-appointed lawyer, said last week. "But I think its going to be a factor in the mind of the government."

It is not likely that the paintings will have any firm value placed on them any time soon. Pressure by police agencies around the world to resolve the world's highest profile art case makes a public sale an impossibility. That has created one of the big mysteries associated with the Gardner theft: What happened to the art?

At least two thieves were involved in the theft. They dressed as police officers and used the uniforms to trick one of two museum guards into opening a door at about 1:30 a.m., the end of St. Patrick's Day, when celebrations around Boston were winding down.

The Gardner, a century-old, Italianate mansion, was protected by an outdated security system. The thieves bound the guards with duct tape and, fewer than 90 minutes later, drove away into the night in a red car. There has been one lead with any promise over 22 years, according to the museum. It went nowhere.

Police investigators say Gentile has been a player for decades in Hartford-area organized crime, a fraternity thinned to near oblivion over the past 20 years by the FBI, competition from legal gambling casinos, shifting demographics and old age.

Gentile, however, survived. A federal prosecutor described him in court last week as a sworn member of a Philadelphia-based organized crime group. Another source said Gentile was "made" by the Gambino crime family organization in Philadelphia in the late 1990s, through contacts Gentile made in Boston. It was in Boston that Gentile came to the attention of the Gardner investigators.

Gentile claims to have worked for years, with little success, in the used car business. But an investigator said that, whatever Gentile does, it pays enough to keep his family in a comfortable house in a comfortable suburb. He has largely avoided publicity, with a few exceptions. There was one incident, in 1994, when he was charged with larceny and accused of cheating his siblings out of their father's estate.

His latest arrest began as a minor matter. He and a partner, Andrew Parente, are accused of selling fraudulently obtained prescription pain pills. During the search of Gentile's home, the FBI found only about 80 pills.

It was the other stuff the FBI found — the guns, bullets, explosives, a bullet-proof vest, a sap, $20,000 stuffed in a grandfather clock with a set of brass knuckles — that raised the profile of the case and Gentile's criminal liability. It is a crime for a convicted felon, as Gentile is, to own many of the items found in his home. In some cases, convictions can carry a mandatory prison sentence.

Gentile's friends suggest that the FBI is using a "nickel and dime" drug case as leverage to make an overweight senior citizen with a bad heart and bad back give up, once and for all, whatever he might know about the Gardner job. And the claims he has nothing to give.

"They're putting the squeeze on him so he'll open up on other things," said Parente, arrested with Gentile recently. "They mentioned it, about the pictures, when they picked me up and took me down to the federal joint. I don't know nothing about no pictures."

Parente was released on bond after his arrest, unlike Gentile, who was held in jail when a judge said the search of his house revealed a "propensity toward violence."

Parente said that FBI agents have been trying to question Gentile about the Gardner for years and that Gentile has been denying knowledge of the theft for just as long. There is a $5 million reward and a promise of no prosecution for anyone who helps recover the paintings.

"He told me they offered him $5 million," Parente said. "I don't know if that's true. But that would be a hard thing to turn down, wouldn't it?"

"He don't know where they are," Parente said of the stolen artworks. "Bobby lives a quiet life. He doesn't drive a brand new car. He's got a home that's been paid for for years, that he built. They are really, really exaggerating this. And this bust is more exaggeration than anything. I'm 75 years old and I took a pinch because of it. It's ridiculous."

An FBI spokesman said the bureau "does not comment on pending investigative matters."

But retired investigators said last week that organized crime informants in Hartford were talking about the Gardner job soon after it took place and, on at least one occasion, they dropped Gentile's name. An informant reported in 1990 that someone from Hartford was connected to the art theft. By 1993, another informant had mentioned Gentile specifically.

In 2010, the FBI tried to question Gentile after learning he had become friendly, years earlier, with a Boston-area man named Robert Guarente. Guarente was associated with a crew of gangsters who met at an auto repair shop in Dorchester owned by Carmello Merlino. Merlino, who was seen frequently with a capo in the Patriarca crime family, is a suspect in the Gardner theft.

According to two sources, Gardner investigators became interested in events that occurred before Guarente's death in 2004, including that Guarente moved to Maine. The FBI got a tip that one or more of the paintings may have been hidden in Maine, perhaps by Guarente. Gentile visited Guarente in Maine. When the investigators later looked for paintings in Maine, they found none.

Gentile has admitted knowing Guarente, the two sources said. But they said he insists that, whatever he knows about stolen paintings, he learned from the newspaper.

"He's been going back and forth to a grand jury and stuff like that," Parente said. "But he doesn't know nothing about no paintings."

Cramer, Gentile's lawyer, said the "government is wasting its time going after a sick, debilitated old man on the mistaken belief that he has millions of dollars in paintings."

"They offered him $5 million" Cramer said. "He would love $5 million. He doesn't know. Can't help. But they are not going to give up."

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Held (Art) Hostage In Safe Deposit Box

Art Hostage has heard whisper's from several quarters that some Gardner art is being held in a Safety Deposit box, therefore protecting it from the elements.

Access to this box is the problem that remains to be overcome.

More to follow.........................

Monday, February 06, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Dam (Wall) Of Silence About to Burst Open, Exclusive !!

Gardner Art Heist Dam About To Break !!

Art Hostage has been informed by a source close to the Gardner Art Heist Investigation there has been a break in Gardner Heist investigation and this may see some art presented to the media to coincide with the 22nd anniversary on March 18th 2012.

However, the news may leak before then and also there might be some arrests, contrary to the deal negotiated.

The ongoing negotiations have been delicate, to say the least, so Art Hostage will leave it here for now to give every possible chance for some Gardner art to come home.

more to follow..................