Obtuse in the sense of slow witted probably best describes Boston media when it comes to the FBI. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald and even WBUR reported, as if it is news that with regard to the paintings taken from the Gardner Museum 24 years ago the FBI “has confirmed sightings of the missing artwork from credible sources.”
First of all can you tell me what that means? It sounds like typical FBI gobbledygook. But I shouldn’t be so hard on the Globe, Herald or WBUR for repeating this story that first appeared on “myfoxBoston.com.” I can’t expect them to have any historical knowledge of events since they too often just regurgitate other news sources.
Fox News reported that “FBI Special Agent Geoff Kelly, the Bureau’s leading investigator on the Gardner Case” in his first television interview says “the trail has not grown cold.” He told Fox of the confirmed sightings. One might ask, when did these sightings happen and who saw them? Is this something new?
Special Agent Kelly went on to finger three hoodlums as persons of interest: “Carmello Merlino, Robert Guarente, and Robert Gentile.“ Since Merlino and Guarente are dead I guess the FBI is not hot on their trail, but apparently its keeping them in mind although I can’t figure out when and how the FBI plans to deal with them.
Here’s the basis for Kelly’s belief: “In the late 1990’s, two FBI informants told the Bureau that Merlino was preparing to return Rembrandt’s Storm on the Sea of Galilee, in an effort to collect the reward. However, Merlino and his crew were soon arrested in an aborted armored car heist and the painting was never returned.”
How does one thing follow the other? If you know anything about these gangsters that arrest should have motivate him even more to return the painting, if he had it. Gangsters are always willing to “make a deal” to do less time.
Kelly laid out that he “believes Guarente somehow passed control of the stolen Gardner artwork to Gentile, a Manchester, Conn. man. Kelly believes Gentile has ties to organized crime in Philadelphia, PA and that Gentile helped bring some or all of the stolen Gardner artwork to Philadelphia where it was last seen in 2000, offered for sale.” You get a lot of confidence when someone says “somehow.”
We also learn: “In 2012 Gentile’s home and property in Manchester, Conn. were extensively searched but no sign of the stolen Gardner artwork was located.”
So we’re to believe the FBI is working diligently on the case based on two informants giving a story in the late 1990s and information that “some or all” of the art work was offered for sale in 2000. I got to say one thing about this FBI Agent Kelly: he’s got a good thing going if he thinks the trail has not gone cold when the last bit of information was 14 years ago.
However what makes all this sort of laughable is that the FBI told somewhat the same story just a short time ago which no one in the media seems to remember. In March, 2013, the FBI Special Agent in Charge, Richard DesLauriers, the same person in charge of the Marathon Terrorist Attack investigation, said “The FBI believes with a high degree of confidence that in the years after the theft, the art was transported to Connecticut and the Philadelphia region, and some of the art was taken to Philadelphia, where it was offered for sale by those responsible for the theft.” DesLauriers added, “With that same confidence, we have identified the thieves, who are members of a criminal organization with a base in the Mid-Atlantic states and New England.”
The FBI Bulletin also said: “After the attempted sale, which took place approximately a decade ago, the FBI’s knowledge of the art’s whereabouts is limited.” What does “limited” mean?
Yet, in typical FBI Bureauspeak DesLauriers said the reason for the announcement over a year ago was: “we want to widen the ‘aperture of awareness’ of this crime to the reach the American public and others around the world,” I wrote about this at the time noting that the FBI figured it caught Whitey by widening the aperture of awareness so perhaps it could get the art work back using the same methods.
The bottom line is the FBI has no information that is new. It hasn’t had anything for 14 years. It keeps putting out the same information in a different package pretending something has happened. I suggested before that it is on the wrong track: the guys it mentioned are run-of-the-mill hoodlums who aren’t professional art thieves and the Gardner heist was a professional job. The guys it mentioned would have given up the art work in a heart beat to get a deal.
Agent Kelly has been on the case for many years; it’s time the FBI put someone else on it to give it a fresh look. Turning over the same story year after year as if something is happening is a hoax on the public.