Agents Find Guns, No Art at Alleged Gangster’s Connecticut Home
(NEW YORK) -- None of the priceless masterpieces from a record art heist were found Thursday in a search by the FBI on the property of an alleged mobster, according to his attorney.
Authorities conducted the search Thursday 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 Thursday yielded two guns.
"Nobody cares about [the guns]. What they were looking for was stolen art," McGuigan told ABC News 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.
The U.S. attorney's office declined to comment Thursday on the search or what connection Gentile could have to the heist.
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.
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.
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