Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, The Charles Sabba Masterpiece "Gardner Gossips" & Lecture Sheds New Light On Gardner Art Heist, Separates Fact From Fiction





When Art Theft Becomes Art Itself

When you ask him how as a policeman he got started in art, Charlie will politely correct your perception. “It’s the other way around. I am an artist first and then a policeman,” he states with a refreshing mix of artistic exuberance and sensibility that emits only from those who are clearly established ‘in their element’. Actually, artist Charlie is a police sergeant, an art theft investigator and art loss consultant as well, formally speaking. Even though he’s worked on some of the largest art theft cases in human history, which is an unusual offshoot of the crime solving industry to begin with, leave it to an artist to take things to a whole new level. And this particular art theft consultant has done just that. On May 16th at 8pm Charles Sabba will seamlessly blend both careers and present to the public some behind-the-scenes insight on the search for the thieves via The Gardner Museum Heist Exhibition-Lecture at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

Accompanying Charles at his lecture will be an 8ft x 6ft′ Isabella Steward Gardner Heist freshly painted depiction, which includes many of the prominent figures that were and are involved in the 22 year old ‘unsolved’ case. If ever there were a way to artfully document this fascinating study of human behavior at its worst and best – it is through Mr. Sabba, who paints with the unusual edge of an insider’s eye. The estimated heist price was $500 million and included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. It connected an heiress, mobsters and politicians, and a host of prominent business men and women spanning over a few decades and continents. The incredible irony of this long-running hi-end drama and the upcoming unveiling in May is that the original criminals actually kicked off the heist – dressed in police uniforms.

Mr. Sabba, who can often be found in his art loft at The duCret School of Art, located in Plainfield NJ, is a typical artist only in that – as artists often do – he has managed to put a whole new and rather lighthearted twist on the redundant theme of ‘humans stealing from other humans’. It temporarily lifts a soul’s focus away from the similarly unsolvable political and banking industry foibles of recent years. Perhaps in the very near future, someone might even be savvy enough to commission Mr. Sabba to paint the connected-iconic figures involved in creating and proliferating the ‘disappearing money syndrome’ that became a devastated world economy!

Both the upcoming lecture and exhibition at the Salmagundi Club are open to the public and the admission is free. In the name of the world’s largest ‘whodunit’ art theft case, this should be one very interesting crowd to mingle amongst. A reception party will begin at 6:30pm and the lecture will begin at 8pm. The Salmagundi Dining Room and bar will be open to the public during the exhibition. For dinner reservations, call(212) 255-7740. Dinner is served Tues – Fri, 6 – 9pm with the bar open Mon – Fri, 5:00 – 10:30pm. The Salmagundi Club is located at Forty-Seven Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10003. For more information regarding Charles Sabba, contact duCret school of Art at 908-757-7171 between 9am – 4pm or visit www.ducret.edu.

Could Whitey shed light on Gardner heist?

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061131902&srvc=rss

A federal grand jury investigation into the notorious heist of $500 million in masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum two decades ago has law enforcement and organized crime sources split over whether James “Whitey” Bulger should be called to testify about what he may know.

They are calling it akin to a deal with the devil.

One close associate of the accused gangland serial killer said they’re “sure” the 82-year-old South Boston mobster knows something about what fate befell 13 masterpieces ripped from the Fenway gallery’s walls in 1990, and whose vanishing act has outlasted the 16 years he was one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives.

“It may have been the one thing he held back as an ace in the hole. He loved art. He’s probably even seen the (expletive),” the associate told the Herald.

Bulger is scheduled to go on trial in November for the murders of 19 men and women. Christina DiIorio-Sterling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, told the Herald yesterday, “As we have said in the past, the government has no reason to believe that James Bulger was involved in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft.”

Out of respect for the families of the victims, a former Bulger investigator predicted prosecutors will never negotiate with the cunning crime lord no matter what mystery they think he can help solve.

“He’d have to know the names of the guys who nailed Christ to the Cross,” he said.

Recalling his client’s high-security lift last June from the Plymouth House of Correction to U.S. District Court in Boston, Bulger’s attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., said, “Would they give him a ride again in a helicopter? He’d enjoy that.”

Ulrich Boser, author of “The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” does not believe Bulger knows where the paintings are but would want to talk to him anyway.

“I do think that when he walked out of his apartment the morning after the theft and saw the headlines he made some phone calls,” Boser said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Museum Art Heist Boston, Fact Over Fiction Lecture, Charles Sabba, Salmagundi Club, Truth Revealed






Charles Sabba’s Visual Investigation into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist
Patron's Gallery, May 13, 2012 - May 19, 2012

http://www.salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Sabba-lect-may16/id/79

Art Cop Charles V. Sabba, Consultant Director of Unitel’s Art Loss Recovery Division, has been involved with the Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum Heist investigation for some years and has even gotten close enough to many of the suspects to paint their portrait. These portraits as well as other works by Mr. Sabba will be on view May 13-19.

On Wednesday, May 16 2012 at 8pm, Mr. Saba will also be giving a lecture about the heist and its many unanswered questions. Click here for more information: http://salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Isabella-Stewart-Gardner-Museum-Heist/id/67

Charles Sabba Statement:
As an artist, I am a flaneur, that idling stroller of city streets that Charles Baudelaire made famous. I like to leave my front door with no particular destination, intent on gathering real life experiences in the city streets, and force close relationships through true social interactions with the people I find in those streets. The norm today among the world's modern populace is to get most of its social interaction, life experience and intellectual stimulation from a screen or an electronic means of conveyance. I reject this and crave to interact with people face to face and my only mission on these urban excursions is to connect to those people I meet and depict them in my art. As both a police officer and an artist, I am a trained observer and I use my skills from both my metiers to observe and paint people. Much like the great poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire, I find the most interesting strolls those that lead me down the darker, seedier streets and back alleys. Baudelaire plunged into the depths of Paris in search of experiences that could fullfill his passion for seeing and feeling. He loved Paris for its bandits and prostitutes, "its monstrosities blooming like a flower," where he could depart, indeed escape, the boundaries of ordinary society and bourgeois existence. On my artistic vagabond wanderings, I choose to plunge into the depths of the art underworld. It is here, among the bandits, detectives, and seedier characters of the art world, that I conduct my visual investigations.
-Charles Sabba-

When Art Theft becomes art itself

http://www.yourbrushwiththelaw.com/roll.htm?roll_body.htm

When you ask him how as a policeman he got started in art, Charlie will politely correct your perception. "It's the other way around. I am an artist first and then a policeman," he states with a refreshing mix of artistic exuberance and sensibility that emits only from those who are clearly established 'in their element'. Actually, artist Charlie is a police sergeant, an art theft investigator and art loss consultant as well, formally speaking. Even though as Unitel's Consultant Director of Art Recovery Consultancy Unit, he's concentrated on some of the largest art theft mysteries in human history, not as traditional law enforcement does, but more akin to the enigmatic world of intelligence gathers, which is an unusual offshoot of the crime solving industry to begin with, leave it to an artist to take things to a whole new level. And this particular art theft consultant has done just that. On May 16th at 8pm, Charles Sabba will seamlessly blend both careers and present to the public some behind-the-scenes insight on the search for the thieves via The Gardner Museum Heist Exhibition-lecture at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

Accompanying Charles at his lecture will be an 8' x 10' Isabella Stewart Gardner Heist freshly painted depiction, which includes many of the prominent figures that were and are involved in the 22 year old 'unsolved' case. If ever there were a way to artfully document this fascinating study of human behavior at it's worst and best - it is through Mr. Sabba, who paints with the unusual edge of an insider's eye. The estimated heist price was $500 million and included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. It connected an heiress, mobsters and politicians, and a host of prominent business men and women spanning over a few decades and continents. The incredible irony of this long-running hi-end drama and the upcoming unveiling in May is that the original criminals actually kicked off the heist - dressed in police uniforms.

Mr. Sabba, who can often be found in his art loft at The duCret School of Art, located in Plainfield NJ, is a typical artist only in that - as artists often do - he has managed to put a whole new and rather lighthearted twist on the redundant theme of 'humans stealing from other humans'. It temporarily lifts a soul's focus away from the similarly unsolvable political and banking industry foibles of recent years. Perhaps in the very near future, someone might even be savvy enough to commission Mr. Sabba to paint the connected-iconic figures involved in creating and proliferating the 'disappearing money syndrome' that became a devastated world economy!

Both the upcoming lecture and exhibition at the Salmagundi Club are open to the public and the admission is free. In the name of the world's largest 'whodunit' art theft case, this should be one very interesting crowd to mingle amongst. A reception party will begin at 6:30pm and the lecture will begin at 8pm. The Salmagundi Dining Room and bar will be open to the public during the exhibition. For dinner reservations, call (212) 255-7740. Dinner is served Tues - Fri, 6 - 9pm with the bar open Mon - Fri, 5:00 - 10:30pm. The Salmagundi Club is located at Forty-Seven Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10003. For more information regarding Charles Sabba, contact duCret school of Art at 908-757-7171 between 9am - 4pm or ducret.edu

Mafioso's widow confirms husband gave art to ‘friend'

http://www.telegram.com/article/20120512/NEWS/120519847/1052

The widow of a Mafia associate, whose Maine home the FBI searched three years ago as part of the investigation into the Gardner Museum art heist, told authorities that she saw her husband give a painting to the Connecticut man who has become the latest person of interest in the notorious theft, the Globe has confirmed through several sources, including the woman.

The information was the basis for the recent thorough, repeated searches of the man's home in Manchester, Conn., according to his lawyer.

Elene Guarente confirmed in an interview Friday that she told Boston-based federal investigators during a trip to her home in 2009 that she saw her husband, the late Robert Guarente, pass a portrait to a man she did not know at the time, who she later learned to be Robert Gentile of Manchester.

She said her husband had only told her of Gentile that "we've been friends for 30 or 40 years."

Guarente, 61, said in a reluctant interview Friday that she provided her best recollection of the piece to the federal agents and later to a federal grand jury investigating the theft. She told the Globe that her recollection of the painting did not match any of the paintings and sketches authorities showed her.

"That was the only picture that Bob gave ((Gentile)) that I know of," she said. She said she saw the picture only once, in the early 1990s, at her Madison, Maine, home when her husband took it out of a tube he was carrying and showed it to her. She said he never explained how he had come into possession of the painting or what he intended to do with it.

Guarente would not describe the piece of art that she viewed to the Globe.

She said that several years later Gentile, accompanied by a second man whom she declined to identify, visited Robert Guarente at the Maine house for a hunting trip. At some point, following the trip, Guarente gave the painting, still in its carrying tube, to Gentile, she said.

"I didn't think anymore about it until they came and began asking me questions about what Bob may have known about stolen paintings," she said.

Earlier Friday, Guarente had denied any knowledge of the paintings to the Globe until she was told that Gentile's lawyer and associate had provided different accounts of her testimony to authorities.

Their accounts now provide the backdrop for the latest activity in an investigation that has captivated the art community and the general public for years, and which seems to have been amplified in recent weeks.

The theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Fenway section of Boston remains one of the most scandalous art thefts in history and perhaps the most sensational in Boston.

Two men dressed as police officers conned their way past security guards in the early-morning hours of March 18, 1990, tied the guards up, and went on to steal priceless masterpieces, including three by Rembrandt and five by Degas.

The case has become a priority for the US attorney's office and the FBI in Boston since the arrest last year of fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger.

The pieces of art would be virtually impossible to move even on the black market because of the high-profile investigation, authorities have said.

Gentile, a 75-year-old Mafioso with ties to Boston crews, is in prison awaiting gun and drug charges, but his lawyer has maintained that the charges are a ruse, that authorities are trying to pressure him into providing information about the artwork.

Armed with a warrant allowing them to look for guns, federal authorities on Thursday searched Gentile's Manchester home, the second time since his arrest in February.

The authorities used ground-penetrating radar and specialized dogs in the search. But Gentile's lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, accused authorities of covertly expanding their search to look for the paintings.

Investigators have not commented on the search but were seen leaving the home with boxes and bags.

Authorities found guns in both searches, his lawyer said. But McGuigan argued that his client, who is ailing, has told authorities and a grand jury everything he knows and that his client would take advantage of the $5 million reward if he had any more information.

"He has told them what he knows - he knows nothing more - and they're insisting that he does," McGuigan said.

McGuigan said his client met with authorities Friday and that he knows the significance of the case.

"My client has said from the beginning that he wishes he could help them find the paintings, not only for the $5 million, but also because my client understands the artwork is not only important to the Gardner Museum, the art world, but he also understands it's important to society at large. He just doesn't have any more information."

Andrew Parente, 76, and Gentile's co-defendant, is out on bail and said in an interview Friday that his childhood friend has told them that investigators have asked about the paintings based on Elene Guarente's account, but that he knows nothing more.

"Believe me, we don't know nothing about no paintings," he said. "If I knew where they were, I would have gave them up in a minute."

He said he met Robert Guarente only once years ago through Gentile when they visited his strip club in Connecticut after watching a baseball game.

Guarente was one of 11 men indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of stealing $227,000 in eight holdups of banks in Greater Boston from November 1967 to July 1968. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He returned to Maine and was convicted again of being a past felon in possession of a handgun. At the time, he penned a letter to a judge asking for a lenient sentence; Guarente reminded the judge that the judge had once called him a "changed man" since returning to Maine in 1986.

Attorney: Grand jury probing art heist

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220512attorney_grand_jury_probing_art_heist/

The ever-expanding search for the missing masterpieces pilfered from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has led not only to new searches of suspected stash houses, but also to a fresh grand jury probe, according to lawyers representing men caught up in the FBI’s dragnet.

Brockton lawyer Martin Leppo said he is representing a “potential witness” summonsed to testify before a federal grand jury sitting in Boston since last fall and hearing testimony into the 1990 theft of 13 masterworks worth $500 million.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said she could neither confirm nor deny if a grand jury is investigating the Gardner theft.

Leppo, who declined to identify his client but said he advised him not to testify “at this point,” doubts the reinvigorated push to uncover the stolen paintings will lead to anything.

“It’s law enforcement just chasing their tails,” said Leppo, who in the past represented Carmello Merlino and David Turner, both long suspected by the FBI of pulling off the largest art heist in history.

Merlino died in a federal prison in 2005 while serving a 47-year sentence for a scheme to rob an Easton armored truck depot in 1999, a crime for which Turner is serving 30 years, and two other men got 51- and 13-year sentences.

“There are a bunch of guys doing long bits ... You’d think if they knew where (the paintings) were, and they’re the prime suspects, they would have given it up,” Leppo said.

Patricia Gentile, wife of jailed reputed mobster Robert Gentile, 75, whose Conn-ecticut home and yard was scoured Thursday by federal agents in what her husband’s lawyer called a “fishing expedition” said she would have collected the $5 million reward long ago if she knew where the art was stashed.

“I knew where they were, I’d turn them in. At this age, we’re too old for games,” she said.

The raid of Gentile’s home followed a similar search in November of former safecracker Anthony Carlo’s Worcester duplex, whose walls were cut open in a fruitless hunt for the paintings.

Robert Gentile’s attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client has been called at least once to appear before a federal grand jury in Boston, where he was questioned about the missing art. The lawyer said he expects authorities to again subpoena Gentile’s wife, who he said has been summonsed to Boston three times, only to be dismissed each time.

Charles Sabba Explains Gardner Art Heist:

http://youngbohemia.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Heist "Gossips" Painting by Charles Vincent Sabba Unveiled Tomorrow Salmagundi Club New York As FBI Continue The Hunt




Charles Sabba’s Visual Investigation into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist
Patron's Gallery, May 13, 2012 - May 19, 2012

http://www.salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Sabba-lect-may16/id/79

Art Cop Charles V. Sabba, Director of Unitel’s Art Loss Recovery Division, has been involved with the Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum Heist investigation for some years and has even gotten close enough to many of the suspects to paint their portrait. These portraits as well as other works by Mr. Sabba will be on view May 13-19.

On Wednesday, May 16 2012 at 8pm, Mr. Saba will also be giving a lecture about the heist and its many unanswered questions. Click here for more information: http://salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Isabella-Stewart-Gardner-Museum-Heist/id/67

When Art Theft becomes art itself

http://www.yourbrushwiththelaw.com/roll.htm?roll_body.htm

When you ask him how as a policeman he got started in art, Charlie will politely correct your perception. "It's the other way around. I am an artist first and then a policeman," he states with a refreshing mix of artistic exuberance and sensibility that emits only from those who are clearly established 'in their element'. Actually, artist Charlie is a police sergeant, an art theft investigator and art loss consultant as well, formally speaking. Even though as Unitel's Director of Art Recovery Consultancy Unit, he's concentrated on some of the largest art theft mysteries in human history, not as traditional law enforcement does, but more akin to the enigmatic world of intelligence gathers, which is an unusual offshoot of the crime solving industry to begin with, leave it to an artist to take things to a whole new level. And this particular art theft consultant has done just that. On May 16th at 8pm, Charles Sabba will seamlessly blend both careers and present to the public some behind-the-scenes insight on the search for the thieves via The Gardner Museum Heist Exhibition-lecture at the Salmagundi Club in NYC.

Accompanying Charles at his lecture will be an 8' x 10' Isabella Stewart Gardner Heist freshly painted depiction, which includes many of the prominent figures that were and are involved in the 22 year old 'unsolved' case. If ever there were a way to artfully document this fascinating study of human behavior at it's worst and best - it is through Mr. Sabba, who paints with the unusual edge of an insider's eye. The estimated heist price was $500 million and included works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. It connected an heiress, mobsters and politicians, and a host of prominent business men and women spanning over a few decades and continents. The incredible irony of this long-running hi-end drama and the upcoming unveiling in May is that the original criminals actually kicked off the heist - dressed in police uniforms.

Mr. Sabba, who can often be found in his art loft at The duCret School of Art, located in Plainfield NJ, is a typical artist only in that - as artists often do - he has managed to put a whole new and rather lighthearted twist on the redundant theme of 'humans stealing from other humans'. It temporarily lifts a soul's focus away from the similarly unsolvable political and banking industry foibles of recent years. Perhaps in the very near future, someone might even be savvy enough to commission Mr. Sabba to paint the connected-iconic figures involved in creating and proliferating the 'disappearing money syndrome' that became a devastated world economy!

Both the upcoming lecture and exhibition at the Salmagundi Club are open to the public and the admission is free. In the name of the world's largest 'whodunit' art theft case, this should be one very interesting crowd to mingle amongst. A reception party will begin at 6:30pm and the lecture will begin at 8pm. The Salmagundi Dining Room and bar will be open to the public during the exhibition. For dinner reservations, call (212) 255-7740. Dinner is served Tues - Fri, 6 - 9pm with the bar open Mon - Fri, 5:00 - 10:30pm. The Salmagundi Club is located at Forty-Seven Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10003. For more information regarding Charles Sabba, contact duCret school of Art at 908-757-7171 between 9am - 4pm or ducret.edu

Mafioso's widow confirms husband gave art to ‘friend'

http://www.telegram.com/article/20120512/NEWS/120519847/1052

The widow of a Mafia associate, whose Maine home the FBI searched three years ago as part of the investigation into the Gardner Museum art heist, told authorities that she saw her husband give a painting to the Connecticut man who has become the latest person of interest in the notorious theft, the Globe has confirmed through several sources, including the woman.

The information was the basis for the recent thorough, repeated searches of the man's home in Manchester, Conn., according to his lawyer.

Elene Guarente confirmed in an interview Friday that she told Boston-based federal investigators during a trip to her home in 2009 that she saw her husband, the late Robert Guarente, pass a portrait to a man she did not know at the time, who she later learned to be Robert Gentile of Manchester.

She said her husband had only told her of Gentile that "we've been friends for 30 or 40 years."

Guarente, 61, said in a reluctant interview Friday that she provided her best recollection of the piece to the federal agents and later to a federal grand jury investigating the theft. She told the Globe that her recollection of the painting did not match any of the paintings and sketches authorities showed her.

"That was the only picture that Bob gave ((Gentile)) that I know of," she said. She said she saw the picture only once, in the early 1990s, at her Madison, Maine, home when her husband took it out of a tube he was carrying and showed it to her. She said he never explained how he had come into possession of the painting or what he intended to do with it.

Guarente would not describe the piece of art that she viewed to the Globe.

She said that several years later Gentile, accompanied by a second man whom she declined to identify, visited Robert Guarente at the Maine house for a hunting trip. At some point, following the trip, Guarente gave the painting, still in its carrying tube, to Gentile, she said.

"I didn't think anymore about it until they came and began asking me questions about what Bob may have known about stolen paintings," she said.

Earlier Friday, Guarente had denied any knowledge of the paintings to the Globe until she was told that Gentile's lawyer and associate had provided different accounts of her testimony to authorities.

Their accounts now provide the backdrop for the latest activity in an investigation that has captivated the art community and the general public for years, and which seems to have been amplified in recent weeks.

The theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the Fenway section of Boston remains one of the most scandalous art thefts in history and perhaps the most sensational in Boston.

Two men dressed as police officers conned their way past security guards in the early-morning hours of March 18, 1990, tied the guards up, and went on to steal priceless masterpieces, including three by Rembrandt and five by Degas.

The case has become a priority for the US attorney's office and the FBI in Boston since the arrest last year of fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger.

The pieces of art would be virtually impossible to move even on the black market because of the high-profile investigation, authorities have said.

Gentile, a 75-year-old Mafioso with ties to Boston crews, is in prison awaiting gun and drug charges, but his lawyer has maintained that the charges are a ruse, that authorities are trying to pressure him into providing information about the artwork.

Armed with a warrant allowing them to look for guns, federal authorities on Thursday searched Gentile's Manchester home, the second time since his arrest in February.

The authorities used ground-penetrating radar and specialized dogs in the search. But Gentile's lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, accused authorities of covertly expanding their search to look for the paintings.

Investigators have not commented on the search but were seen leaving the home with boxes and bags.

Authorities found guns in both searches, his lawyer said. But McGuigan argued that his client, who is ailing, has told authorities and a grand jury everything he knows and that his client would take advantage of the $5 million reward if he had any more information.

"He has told them what he knows - he knows nothing more - and they're insisting that he does," McGuigan said.

McGuigan said his client met with authorities Friday and that he knows the significance of the case.

"My client has said from the beginning that he wishes he could help them find the paintings, not only for the $5 million, but also because my client understands the artwork is not only important to the Gardner Museum, the art world, but he also understands it's important to society at large. He just doesn't have any more information."

Andrew Parente, 76, and Gentile's co-defendant, is out on bail and said in an interview Friday that his childhood friend has told them that investigators have asked about the paintings based on Elene Guarente's account, but that he knows nothing more.

"Believe me, we don't know nothing about no paintings," he said. "If I knew where they were, I would have gave them up in a minute."

He said he met Robert Guarente only once years ago through Gentile when they visited his strip club in Connecticut after watching a baseball game.

Guarente was one of 11 men indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of stealing $227,000 in eight holdups of banks in Greater Boston from November 1967 to July 1968. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

He returned to Maine and was convicted again of being a past felon in possession of a handgun. At the time, he penned a letter to a judge asking for a lenient sentence; Guarente reminded the judge that the judge had once called him a "changed man" since returning to Maine in 1986.

Attorney: Grand jury probing art heist

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220512attorney_grand_jury_probing_art_heist/

The ever-expanding search for the missing masterpieces pilfered from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has led not only to new searches of suspected stash houses, but also to a fresh grand jury probe, according to lawyers representing men caught up in the FBI’s dragnet.

Brockton lawyer Martin Leppo said he is representing a “potential witness” summonsed to testify before a federal grand jury sitting in Boston since last fall and hearing testimony into the 1990 theft of 13 masterworks worth $500 million.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston said she could neither confirm nor deny if a grand jury is investigating the Gardner theft.

Leppo, who declined to identify his client but said he advised him not to testify “at this point,” doubts the reinvigorated push to uncover the stolen paintings will lead to anything.

“It’s law enforcement just chasing their tails,” said Leppo, who in the past represented Carmello Merlino and David Turner, both long suspected by the FBI of pulling off the largest art heist in history.

Merlino died in a federal prison in 2005 while serving a 47-year sentence for a scheme to rob an Easton armored truck depot in 1999, a crime for which Turner is serving 30 years, and two other men got 51- and 13-year sentences.

“There are a bunch of guys doing long bits ... You’d think if they knew where (the paintings) were, and they’re the prime suspects, they would have given it up,” Leppo said.

Patricia Gentile, wife of jailed reputed mobster Robert Gentile, 75, whose Conn-ecticut home and yard was scoured Thursday by federal agents in what her husband’s lawyer called a “fishing expedition” said she would have collected the $5 million reward long ago if she knew where the art was stashed.

“I knew where they were, I’d turn them in. At this age, we’re too old for games,” she said.

The raid of Gentile’s home followed a similar search in November of former safecracker Anthony Carlo’s Worcester duplex, whose walls were cut open in a fruitless hunt for the paintings.

Robert Gentile’s attorney, A. Ryan McGuigan, said his client has been called at least once to appear before a federal grand jury in Boston, where he was questioned about the missing art. The lawyer said he expects authorities to again subpoena Gentile’s wife, who he said has been summonsed to Boston three times, only to be dismissed each time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist, Charles Sabba Breaks The Deadlock With Gardner Gossips Painting & Lecture, Salmagundi Club New York May 16th 2012


FBI Agents Find 2 Guns, No Gardner Art at Alleged Gangster's Connecticut Home

http://abcnews.go.com/US/massachusetts-art-heist-search-alleged-mobsters-home-yields/story?id=16319778#.T6xO51I-iUk

None of the priceless masterpieces from a record art heist were found today in a search by the FBI on the property of an alleged mobster, according to his attorney.

Authorities conducted the search today on the property of Robert Gentile, 75, who was arrested in February on federal drug charges. The warrant allowed ground-penetrating radar to be used so agents could search for weapons, said A. Ryan McGuigan, Gentile's attorney.

The search today yielded two guns.

"Nobody cares about [the guns]. What they were looking for was stolen art," McGuigan told ABCNews.com at the end of the day.

The search warrant marked the second time the FBI had searched Gentile's property. Both warrants were for weapons, McGuigan said, because the statute of limitations on the art theft case had expired.

Among the masterpieces stolen more than 20 years ago were works by Degas and Rembrandt.

In March, a federal prosecutor said Gentile may have some connection to the art heist at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment today on the search or what connection Gentile could have to the heist.

During the early hours of March 18, 1990, two men disguised as police officers were let inside the museum through a security door. The museum's guard was told the officers were responding to a call.

Once inside, the thieves asked the guard to step away from the security desk, saying there was a warrant for his arrest. The move kept the guard more than a safe distance from the museum's emergency alert button.

The other guard was called to the security desk, where the thieves handcuffed the workers and marched them into the basement. The men were secured to pipes and their hands, feet and heads were duct-taped.

When the guards' morning replacement arrived, he discovered 13 pieces of art were missing, including work by Degas, Rembrandt, Manet and Vermeer. The art heist has produced few leads -- even with seasoned investigators on the case -- until now.

The thieves also apparently tried to steal a fourth Rembrandt but were unsuccessful, the FBI reported at the time. The agency said that their early investigation led authorities to examine several different groups, including members of Boston's organized crime gangs and the Irish Republican Army.

Gentile was arrested on federal drug charges after he allegedly sold prescription drugs to an undercover agent. McGuigan said he believes it was a ruse to allow authorities to search Gentile's home, because the statute of limitations on the art heist had expired.

"It is our contention he was set up by the FBI to sell drugs to an undercover agent so they could execute a search warrant on his home," McGuigan said.

The first search yielded firearms, ammunition and homemade silencers, adding more federal charges to Gentile's rap sheet. McGuigan said the FBI claimed the first search wasn't thorough enough, so they issued a warrant for a second search, which included the ability to use ground-penetrating radar in Gentile's yard.

"They're pretty thorough. The FBI doesn't miss things," McGuigan said, underscoring his point that his client's alleged crimes were a ruse to search his property for the missing paintings.

The heist has remained at the top of the list of the FBI's Art Recovery Squad. The works are worth an estimated half a billion dollars, making it the largest art theft in history, according to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Twenty-two years later, empty frames continue to hang in the museum as placeholders for the works the museum hopes will one day be returned.

Gentile pleaded not guilty to federal weapon and gun charges last month and is being held without bond.

Charles Sabba’s Visual Investigation into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist
Patron's Gallery, May 13, 2012 - May 19, 2012.

http://www.salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Sabba-lect-may16/id/79

Art Cop Charles V. Sabba, Director of Unitel’s Art Loss Recovery Division, has been involved with the Isabella Stewart Garnder Museum Heist investigation for some years and has even gotten close enough to many of the suspects to paint their portrait. These portraits as well as other works by Mr. Sabba will be on view May 13-19. On Wednesday, May 16 at 8pm, Mr. Saba will also be giving a lecture about the heist and its many unanswered questions. Click here for more information: http://salmagundi.org/content.cfm/salmagundi/Isabella-Stewart-Gardner-Museum-Heist/id/67

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Underground, Hopefully, But Maybe Not Literally, Gentile Does It

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




Lawyer: Agents searching home for art stolen in Gardner Museum heist

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061130658&pos=breaking

MANCHESTER, Conn.— Law enforcement agents swarmed the home of a reputed Connecticut mobster who authorities believe has information on an infamous unsolved art heist in Boston.

A lawyer for 75-year-old Robert Gentile says authorities searched Gentile’s home in Manchester on Thursday under a new warrant allowing the use of ground-penetrating radar.

The lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, says the warrant shows the FBI is looking for weapons, but McGuigan believes they’re looking for paintings stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Thieves in the heist stole a half billion dollars’ worth of works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet.

McGuigan says Gentile doesn’t know anything about the art heist and believes authorities won’t find anything on his client’s property.

Gentile currently is detained on federal weapons and prescription drug charges.

Lawyer: Feds digging up mobster’s yard in hunt for Gardner paintings

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220510lawyer_feds_digging_up_mobsters_yard_in_hunt_for_gardner_paintings/

FBI agents, bloodhounds, beagles and a ferret are swarming the backyard of a reputed Connecticut mobster hunting for the long-lost Gardner Museum masterworks, the alleged gangster’s lawyer told the Herald this morning.

Agents are executing a search-and-seizure warrant to look for guns at the Manchester, Conn., home and property of 75-year-old Robert Gentile, but “they’re looking for paintings,” said defense attorney Ryan McGuigan. “We all know what they’re really looking for.”

He said he got a call around 7:30 a.m. that agents were on the scene. Investigators are using three bloodhounds, two beagles, a ferret and ground-penetrating technology as they dig up Gentile’s yard, McGuigan said.

Gentile, who prosecutors say has ties to crime families in Philadelphia and Boston, is detained on federal drug and weapons charges.

A federal prosecutor said in March the FBI believes Gentile knows something about the theft in 1990 of 13 masterworks from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The pieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet are worth more than a half-billion dollars.

McGuigan maintains his client has no idea who took the paintings or where they are, and said he believes his client was “set up” on drug charges solely to get a warrant to search his property.

Authorities are going to find “nothing but worms,” he said. “It won’t be fruitless if they’re going to open up a baitshop. They’re going to have plenty of nightcrawlers to sell.”

In February, federal authorities arrested Gentile and another man on charges of conspiring to sell prescription painkillers. In March, he unsuccessfully argued for bail from the Wyatt Detention Center, where he’s being held, after prosecutors said they found a cache of weapons and $22,000 inside his Manchester home.

“They’re treating him like a dog,” said Patricia Gentile, Robert Gentile’s wife, in an interview in March. “I don’t know anything about the pictures, and they keep thinking I do. But you know, it’s the FBI. They have the power.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment.