A reputed Connecticut mobster who authorities say is the last surviving person of interest in the largest art heist in U.S. history has pleaded guilty to unrelated weapons charges.
Eighty-year-old Robert Gentile appeared Thursday in federal court in Hartford in a case stemming from federal agents' seizure of numerous firearms and ammunition from his home in Manchester. Federal officials said they seized 200 Percocet pills, several guns and silencers, ammunition and $22,000.
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"Today, Mr. Gentile accepted responsibility for contraband that was in his house," attorney Ryan McGuigan said Thursday.
Prosecutors said Gentile should spend close to five years in prison.
Prosecutors have said they believe Gentile has information about the still-unsolved 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Thieves stole an estimated $500 million worth of artwork, including works by Rembrandt and Edouard Manet.
Gentile has denied knowing anything about the heist or the paintings.
"The doctors didn't think he would live through the night and that's when I asked him about the paintings and, at that point, he didn't have any more information than he ever has said to anyone and that led me to believe he certainly doesn't have any knowledge about where the paintings are," McGuigan said,
Authorities have searched Gentile's home three times and have found no evidence of the paintings. The artwork did not come up at Thursday's hearing.
Gentile remains detained and sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 25.
His attorney plans to ask that Gentile be sent home.
"He's already spent 25 months in prison. He's an 80-year-old man. By the time he's sentenced, he'll be 81 years old in very bad health," McGuigan said