Thursday, June 23, 2011
Whitey Bulger Captured!
Top Ten fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger was arrested thanks to a tip from the public—just days after a new media campaign was announced to help locate the gangster who had been on the run for 16 years.
Bulger, who once ran South Boston’s violent Winter Hill Gang and was wanted for his role in 19 murders, was arrested with his longtime companion Catherine Greig Wednesday night in Santa Monica, California, by agents on the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force.
“Although there are those who doubted our resolve, it never wavered," said Boston Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers. "We followed every lead, we explored every possibility, and when those leads ran out we did not sit back and wait for the phone to ring. The result is we have captured one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, a man notorious in Boston and around the world for the very serious crimes he is alleged to have committed."
The FBI has always relied on cooperation from the public to help capture fugitives and solve crimes. The new media campaign regarding Bulger was designed to draw attention to Greig, who fled with Bulger in 1995. A 30-second public service announcement (PSA) produced by the Bureau began airing Tuesday in 10 states where it was believed Bulger had resided or still had contacts. California was one of those states.
The PSA focused on the 60-year-old Greig’s physical appearance, habits, and personality traits and was directed specifically at women who might come in contact with her at places such as the beauty parlor or doctor’s office. After the PSA began to air, hundreds of tips flowed into the FBI, and one of them led to the arrest Wednesday night in a residence near Los Angeles.
“We were trying to reach a different audience to produce new leads in the case,” said Richard Teahan, a special agent in our Boston office who leads a task force that has searched for Bulger around the world. “We believed that locating Greig would lead us to Bulger. And that’s exactly what happened.”
The PSA included pictures of Greig after her pre-fugitive plastic surgeries and other details including her love of animals and the reward of up to $100,000 for her capture. Although she was not implicated in Bulger’s crimes, Greig was federally charged in 1997 for harboring a fugitive. The reward for Bulger is up to $2 million—the largest the FBI has ever offered for a Top Ten domestic fugitive.
Bulger, 81, who is known for his violent temper, was arrested without incident and was scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles court later today.
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