Boston mobster-turned-pastor reveals knowledge of Gardner paintings' location
A former mobster who has turned his life around and now has a new identity said he has information about the location of the missing Gardner paintings.
Notoriously known as Robert "Bobby" Luisi Jr., the mobster who became a pastor and now goes by the name Alfonso Esposito, used to lead a group that included two men suspected of stealing artwork from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum worth $500 million 26 years ago.
Luisi revealed in an interview with the Boston Globe that one of the two men, Robert Guarente, told him where they hid the paintings.
He said Guarente told him about it when they were together in a safehouse. While they were watching a television show about the Gardner paintings, Guarente told him the 13 pieces of artwork were buried under a concrete floor in Florida.
Luisi said Guarente asked him if he knew possible buyers for the paintings. However, because he didn't know of any prospective buyer and because he didn't want to be involved in the case, Luisi said he didn't.
"I knew I couldn't move it," Luisi said. "I didn't want to get involved in it."
He relayed the information to the FBI who questioned him about the case in 2012 while he was serving a 15-year prison term for trafficking cocaine.
At the end of his prison term, Luisi was given witness protection for testifying against Guarante.
Luisi now spends his time as a volunteer pastor at Faith Keepers Ministry, a nondenominational church in Memphis. He also wrote a book about the Bible.
To this day, the whereabouts of the Gardner paintings remain unknown.
Anthony Amore, the Gardner's director of security since 2005, has been searching for the paintings for 11 years, according to Boston magazine. However, even if he has spent years with no success, right now he feels like the stolen artworks are about to go home.
"One small piece of information could end this tomorrow," Amore said.