FBI: Manchester man lied when he denied knowledge of theft

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One of the paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990

HARTFORD  — Federal authorities investigating the 1990 theft of $500 million in art from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum have disclosed in court that they “terminated” a cooperation agreement with an aging Connecticut gangster because they think he lied when he testified before a grand jury that he knows nothing about the heist.

The disclosure in U.S. District Court in Connecticut on Wednesday reveals nothing about the whereabouts of the 13 works, but helps explain why investigators have focused their efforts in the past five years on 79-year old Robert Gentile.

The Hartford Courant reports that a prosecution motion reveals Gentile told an FBI informant in 2010 that he knew who masterminded the theft and smiled when asked if he had the works.

Gentile has consistently denied knowing anything about the missing art.

See more stories about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.