Robert “Bobby” Luisi was a major reason federal authorities believed the key to recovering the stolen Gardner artwork lay with Bobby Guarente and Bobby Gentile. Luisi operated a major cocaine trafficking ring out of a suburban Boston home in 1997 and the two men worked for him — Guarente as a seller, Gentile as a cook and security guard. According to Luisi, he told the FBI that Guarente had asked him at the time if he knew how to fence stolen masterpieces as he had buried two of them beneath the concrete slab of a house in Florida. Luisi said he didn’t, and forgot about the conversation – that is, until he was approached by the FBI upon release from federal prison in 2012. Within weeks, the FBI was raiding Gentile’s home outside of Hartford, but did not find the art. Its 2018 excavation of a lot in Orlando, Florida, that Guarente had frequented also failed to uncover any trace of the stolen works.
-- Written by Stephen Kurkjian