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Art Theft

G01policesketchesPolice Sketches of Gardner Heist Robbers

In 1998 a number of people were arrested for conspiring to rob on an armored vehicle in the suburbs of Boston. In 2002 a judge hammered each of the defendants with 40 years behind bars for a job they never got a chance to do. Since this is the twenty fifth anniversary of the Gardner Heist it is worth to note that David Turner and William Merlino - longtime suspects in the 1990 Art theft - were part of the gang arrested in 98. Rumor had it that the Feds really wanted it to stick to them or as a former United States Attorney remarked, “They must have pissed somebody off.” Forget innocent until proven guilty, or in this case to be guilty of a crime before being charged with it. As absurd as that may sound, the gang were allegedly found with a plethora of guns and weaponry, and were allegedly tailing an armored car making bank stops in the suburbs of Boston. Under that “sting” scenario, David Turner and William Merlino were hit with conspiracy, and in 2002, in a Federal Court, were sentenced to forty years in Federal prison. Forty years, and guess what, they had no previous convictions, a pretty harsh sentence in the scheme of things.

G01x25yearslater2Gardner Sketches matched to alleged Perps

Uncle CarmelloAll in the Family, William's Uncle, Carmello MerlinoAnother defendant in the 2002 trial, William’s uncle Carmello Merlino, also got sent to prison on these charges and died behind bars in 2005. For those of you unaware of the Boston underground, it is well documented that Uncle Carmello was a made man in the New England crime family which includes Boston and Providence, RI, and an organization known to law enforcement as the Patriarca Crime Family, or just “The Office.”

Screen Shot 2015 03 17 at 23 35 421 copy

The Office was the “Wise Guy” street nickname for the headquarters of long time mafiosa kingpin Raymond Patriarca Senior who used a vending machine business office on Atwells Avenue in Providence as a front for the entire operations of the New England mob. No wonder nobody talked as to who did the job when there was a chance at recovery, the Italians have a word for this, “Omerta.”

Screen Shot 2015 03 17 at 23 31 29

Let us assume Federal law enforcement is more competent than what we have been led to believe by the local police, and that the Feds really do know who did the job. Does that bring the paintings back any sooner?

Obviously not, those paintings are long gone. The market for legitimate European paintings worth ten to one hundred million dollars remains where? Europe. As proof of that statement look no further than the TEFAF show in Maastricht. That billion dollar art fair should confirm to anybody with any knowledge in the market where high end European paintings find a new home. In the meantime if anybody wants to know who did the job, from what has leaked out, and because of their mugshots bearing an uncanny resemblance to the police sketches, William Merlino and David Turner were in the locations seen below. However, and this is news, William Merlino appears to have been cut loose, which might indicate that he is making a deal.

A release date of 2025, and now not in Bureau of Prisons custody (BOP) ? This smacks of Merlino joining the witness protection program club, or at least being pressured into going canary. More to come.

Who is singing?G06canaryIs somebody singing?


Editor's note - Update 13.08.2016: Finally, one of the perps behind the Gardner Heist gets yanked from the federal witness protection programme. So Frank Salemme and Skinny Joe get pinched, which, according to sources, means that there is a race on to the prosecutors office right now, with the alternative being a 23 hour a day cell. 

Frank Salemme mugshot

*  With Remains Identified, An Old Killer Comes Back Into Focus

*  Gardner Heist Perps, Unmasked At Last?


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