A Gardner Heist Suspect’s Prison Sentence Was Secretly Cut

The government took seven years off of the time he’ll serve for an unrelated crime, raising questions about his cooperation in the Gardner investigation.

‘THE CONCERT’ BY VERMEER, one of the artworks stolen from the Gardner Museum. / PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

‘THE CONCERT’ BY VERMEER, one of the artworks stolen from the Gardner Museum. / PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

It’s possible that a longtime Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum robbery suspect agreed to help investigators find the 13 works of art stolen from the museum in 1990.

The Boston Globe reports the government secretly reduced the prison term of David Turner “several years ago.” Turner was serving 38 years in prison for the 1999 attempted robbery of an Easton armored car company. He will now serve 31 years, and is scheduled to be released in 2025, rather than 2032.

This seven year difference in his sentence raises questions about Turner’s involvement in the Gardner case, and whether he opted to help locate the lost works, worth $500 million. Hints of Turner’s possible involvement can be traced to federal court proceedings in Hartford that involve Robert Gentile. Gentile, a Connecticut mobster suspected to be connected to the stolen paintings, is awaiting trial on an unrelated weapons charge, and maintains he knows nothing about the heist. But in a 2010 letter from prison, Turner attempted to arrange a meeting for Gentile and his associates about the Gardner works.

The FBI, the US attorney’s office, and Turner’s lawyer declined to comment to the Globe about why Turner’s sentence was cutmeaning it’s unclear if he actually provided any information to warrant leniency.

But Gentile’s lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said otherwise in an interview with the Globe, “I think it means that he was cooperating with the federal government in trying to aid them in gleaning information as to the whereabouts of the paintings.”

He explained it would take “significant cooperation” to have seven years trimmed from a lengthy sentence.

“Obviously, whatever [Turner] was offering didn’t pan out because we’re in 2016 and we still don’t know where the paintings are,” McGuigan told the Globe.