FBI agents returned Monday to the home of a reputed mobster long suspected of having knowledge of one of the world's biggest art heists, the theft of 13 paintings from Boston's Gardner art museum in 1990.
Robert Gentile is awaiting trial on federal firearms charges, but prosecutors have left little doubt that the current case is being used in an attempt to pressure him in into revealing whatever he may know about the theft.
Gentile's lawyer has asserted that his client has no new information on what happened to the paintings or their whereabouts. He says that Gentile already told the FBI everything he knew about the infamous heist.
Gentile wrote in an affidavit that he told a confidential informant in the case that "I don't have any painting, so I told the guy that he's stupid."
The FBI has searched Gentile's home in Connecticut twice before. An FBI official told NBC News Monday that agents were "conducting court authorized activity" and that it was "in connection with an ongoing federal investigation."
The FBI would not address what was specifically being searched or why.
Gentile's lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, told NBC station WVIT that Gentile, "has denied any involvement for the past four years with the theft. He has also denied possessing or ever having possessed any of the paintings."
A year ago, prosecutors revealed in court that the FBI has a recording of Gentile negotiating the sale of stolen Gardner museum paintings with an undercover operative. Others have said, however, that he may have been trying to pull off a swindle.
Earlier this year, prosecutors told the judge in the current case that Gentile told at least three people, when he was in jail in Rhode Island, that he knew about the thefts and had information about the thefts.
The Hartford Courant reported in January that federal prosecutors said Gentile submitted to a polygraph examination on the theft in 2015.
According to the account, the prosecutors said the exam showed a likelihood of less than 0.1 percent that Gentile was being truthful when asked about having advance knowledge of the heist, ever possessing a Gardner painting, or knowing the location of any of the stolen artworks.
Thirteen paintings including the famous "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" by Rembrandt from 1633 were stolen on March 18, 1990. Two thieves disguised as Boston Police Officers handcuffed the security guards in the basement and swiped the paintings. 13 empty frames hang on the museum wall today.