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Reputed mobster probed for art heist

May 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM

HARTFORD, Conn., May 10 (UPI) -- Police searched the Hartford, Conn., home of reputed mobster Robert Gentile Thursday morning for evidence he stole valuable works of art, officials say.

Gentile was hit with weapons charges last month after FBI agents found pistols, silencers, ammunition and brass knuckles in his home, in what a federal judge called a "veritable arsenal."

Now, the reputed mob figure is suspected of involvement in a robbery which took place March 18, 1990, in which nine priceless works by Rembrandt, Manet, Vermeer and Degas disappeared from the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum.

Some 20 law enforcement agents tore apart Gentile's lawn Thursday digging for the artwork, and even using ground penetrating radar, The Hartford Courant reported.

Gentile's lawyers accuse federal law enforcement of "piling" charges on Gentile, saying he was not involved in the heist and has no knowledge of it.

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