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Gardner Museum Visitors Intrigued By New Development In Heist Probe

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Art lovers are making a plea to whoever has the loot from the famous 1990 heist of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Upon hearing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is searching the property of a reputed mobster, long-time art enthusiast Emily Harris called the development “stupendous.”

“I don’t particularly care about the person who took it or what his motive was. The important thing to me is to get it back here,” said Harris who was in line as the Gardner Museum opened Thursday morning.

Officially the museum had no comment about the case of Robert Gentile, a Connecticut man said to have been a member of La Cosa Nostra.

In recent court hearings, federal investigators have raised questions about whether or not Gentile had any knowledge of the Gardner heist, which happened on March 18, 1990.

Two men dressed as police officers conned their way into the building after hours, then tied up two security guards in the basement.

Museum spokesperson Michael Busack declined to tell WBZ-TV whether or not the museum was aware of any leads in the case, but he did want to remind the public that there is a $5 million reward being offered in the case.

Thirteen works of art were stolen in total.

Some estimates value the collection at $500 million. It includes several Rembrant works, Degas pencil sketches and a famous Vermeer oil on canvas.

The museum still displays empty frames where the works were taken, despite there being no sign of the art in more than 20 years.

Robert Gentile’s attorney told WBZ by phone Thursday that his client has no knowledge of who robbed the Gardner Museum or where the art might be.

Attorney A. Ryan McGuigan was told the FBI is searching Gentile’s property for guns but he believes they are misguidely hoping to find the stolen art.

“All they’re going to find is some worms,” said McGuigan.

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