The Cook Dies

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A hallmark of any Ed Mahony story about New England mobsters includes the use of the mobster’s nickname.

And so it was late Thursday when the Hartford Courant’s long-time federal crime reporter posted his story on the death of Robert “The Cook” Gentile, who appears to have died of natural causes, while believed to be clutching secrets that could have helped solve the 1990 theft of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It was a burglary that netted a half million dollars in valuable work from a variety of famous artists, including Rembrandt and Vermeer. None of the art has ever been found.

Gentile died last week at Hartford Hospital. He was 85.

The file photo above, taken by former Courant photographer Cloe Poisson, reminds us of Robert DeNiro’s character in the final scenes of The Irishman. Wheelchair bound and still refusing to talk to the FBI.