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When FBI agent David Nadolski learned that Carmello Merlino was discussing with associates his hopes of gaining recovery of the stolen Gardner artwork, he asked Cronin to join the investigation. Merlino told them both that the $5 million reward offered by the museum for return of the artwork was spurring his efforts and he was to talking to several longtime friends in and out of the criminal underworld in his efforts. The talks led nowhere and ended when Merlino and three others were arrested in early 1999 for trying to rob an armored car depot in Easton. A 23-year veteran of the FBI, Cronin died in 2003 in a car crash on Rt. 495 in Wrentham.
— Written by Stephen Kurkjian