Legendary Boston crime boss James J. "Whitey" Bulger arrested in Santa Monica, CA


The Los Angeles Times reports tonight that famed Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger, an FBI 10 Most Wanted fugitive for more than ten years, was arrested today in Santa Monica, California. From the LAT:

Bulger, 81, has been the subject of several books and was the inspiration for "The Departed," a 2006 Martin Scorsese film staring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson.

Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with 21 killings, racketeering and other crimes that spanned the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.

Above, a mugshot from 1953. He served as an FBI informant for a number of years in the 1970s.

More here. In 2000, there were reports he had been spotted in Orange County, and in 2005, there was speculation that Bulger was the "Senior Citizen Bandit" who robbed a number of banks in O.C.

An FBI alert distributed at the time explained that "Whitey" Bulger, nicknamed for his white hair, was fond of reading books and was "known to frequent libraries and historic sites."

His girlfriend, Catherine Grieg was the target of a recently-launched FBI PSA campaign targeting plastic surgery clinics and dentist's offices. You can watch one of the TV ads here. She "had multiple plastic surgeries" before fleeing with Bulger, and was known to be obsessive about oral hygiene. She is now listed as "captured," along with Bulger.

According to the FBI profile, they both love "dogs and all kinds of animals."

Update, via LA Times:

FBI officials in Boston and Los Angeles said late Wednesday that a tip generated by "recent publicity" had led led agents earlier that evening to a residence in Santa Monica where both Greig and Bulger were arrrested.


  1. Being a ex-pat from Boston, Southie & environs specifically, I’m glad to read that the FBI did in fact detain Bulger the Lesser. Given Whitey’s epic, decades long manipulation of the Bureau, Bostonians’ (more or less) expected Bulger to never be heard from again a.k.a. having become an X-File.

    Let’s see if the USA in Boston will negotiate a plea or move to trial.

  2. I wonder if Whitey will rat out all the FBI accomplices, all the way to the top, who allowed him and his crew to get away with actual murder?

    I hope so.

    1. The FBI agents involved with him are already in prison on racketeering and murder charges. It’s more in the mafia owning some cops end of things (Except with a greater impact because they were the FBI) rather than a deep conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

      1. Don’t be too sure. The Bush Justice Dept tried to quash the trial of that FBI agent on the grounds of “National Security”.

        Allowing six innocent men to be imprisoned for life, so as not to interfere with Bulger’s activities as a mobster and FBI informant is not something that the local FBI poobahs can do without approval from D.C..

      2. I dunno, some of the interviews with the agents who finally uncovered the FBI corruption make it sound like brass knew something wasn’t right but were happy enough to put their heads in the sand because there were too many high profile names connected to the informant and the division was considered too important to meddle in.

  3. Holy crap. Bulger was responsible for ordering the murder of a good friend of my father’s back in the 80’s. I’m sorry my dad didn’t live long enough to see him brought to justice.

  4. Is it just me or does this sound like a Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego clue?

    “Whitey” Bulger, nicknamed for his white hair, was fond of reading books and was “known to frequent libraries and historic sites.”

    His girlfriend, Catherine Grieg “had multiple plastic surgeries” before fleeing with Bulger, and was known to be obsessive about oral hygiene.

  5. The PSA noted that his girlfriend got her teeth cleaned at a dentist’s office once a month. I’ll bet that was the tip that nailed them.

  6. I thought the inspiration for “The Departed” was a little Hong Kong movie called “Infernal Affairs”, featuring them much-feared (by Americans) subtitles.

  7. His brother, Billy Bulger, was Speaker of the Mass. State Senate for 18 years. It’s quite a remarkable city.

  8. The Departed was based on Infernal Affairs, but the Jack Nicholson character was based on Whitey Bulger.

    Pretty amazing how the media blitz on Bulger’s girlfriend just started a few days ago. Must be a pretty good fugitive-finding technique.

  9. You couldn’t get a haircut like that today. Look how it’s tapered. REally short around the ears and neck, longer on top. Compare it to the shitty haircuts and “styles” one finds at cheap mall “salons” or corner barbers. It’s a lost art.

  10. Didn’t anyone here watch the Showtime series “Brotherhood”? It was actually based on the Bulger brothers. One was a stone killer for the Irish mob and his brother a prominent politician. A great show that was canceled too soon.

  11. Even though he’s been away for 15 years Whitey is still talked about in Boston quite a bit. I remember driving to work a couple years ago and the police were digging up a suspected Whitey-related grave near the Southeast expressway.

  12. Looking at that photo, I wondered if his mother drank while she was pregnant with him…

  13. I knew a black girl in Boston who would sometimes talk about how much she loved “Whitey”. It always sounded so strange.

    Let’s not forget that his brother Billy Bulger went on to become the President of the University of Massachusetts after being Speaker of the Senate (Whitey allegedly has a secret appearance in Billy’s portrait for the for the Senate as well).

    Now let’s hope the forthcoming trial really gives us some dirt.

  14. “but the Jack Nicholson character was based on Whitey Bulger.”

    In what way, shape or form? The character in ‘the Departed’ was totally fictitious and had no similarity to Bulger at all. Whitey’d have killed that rat in about 30 seconds with his bare hands.

  15. A crook, a thug, a murderer many times over. Protected by many friends in high places (not just the FBI). Yet even today, there are those in Boston who sing his praises. Despicable. No doubt he’ll have a book deal and a movie option in a matter of weeks, if not days. I wonder if his brother will have him a a guest at the next Saint Patrick’s Day breakfast in Southie. No matter. A score of dead men await him at the gates of Hell.

  16. For years whenever I heard a news report on how they were still looking for Whitey, and they would mention the reward, I’d think: “If I knew where he was I could collect that reward, but then I wonder if I would be safe here in Boston.”

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