79-year-old Manchester mobster slapped with slew of gun charges

Robert V. Gentile

Robert V. Gentile is “no Hollywood director’s vision of a master art thief,” according to writers for The New York Times. (Photo: AP)

A New Haven grand jury indicted an elderly man who is a known member of the Mafia on federal gun charges in a Connecticut court Tuesday.

Robert V. Gentile, 79, of Manchester, who is a convicted felon, was arrested and indicted in April 2015 for the possession and sale of a .38 Colt Cobra to a known felon. But now he faces charges for possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possession of an unregistered silencer after a May 2 search of his home turned up additional firearms. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, authorities recovered a .22 caliber Browning semi-automatic pistol, a 9mm Walther semi-automatic pistol, a .380 caliber RPB Industries and M11-Al semi-automatic pistol, in addition to the silencer.

Gentile was on supervised release stemming from prior gun and drug charges at the time the guns related to this week’s indictment were discovered. The two charges each carry a maximum 10-year sentence, but also faces additional penalties for violating the terms and conditions of his release.

Gentile, who also goes by “the Cook,” is a known member of the Mafia with a criminal record dating back more than six decades. He is believed to have knowledge – although it has not been shared – about the infamous 1990 art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The theft is reported to be the largest art heist in American history. Thirteen masterpieces were stolen that day, and the museum continues to offer an enormous $5 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the artwork “in good condition.”

But although the 79-year-old may be behind the largest art heist in American history, The New York Times noted in an article in April of last year that “Gentile is no Hollywood director’s vision of a master art thief.” In fact, Gentile currently battles diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, and must use a wheelchair to get around.