Vinson: Gangster caught in boo-boo job


The FBI's manhunt for 9/11 terrorist Osama bin Laden was the most expensive, exhaustive, and wide-scale in the Bureau's history. When a U.S. Navy SEAL team killed bin Laden in a fortress-like compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, May 2, 2011, the Number One slot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list was immediately filled by James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious mobster from Boston, Mass., who'd been on the run for 16 years.

James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger Jr. was born Sept. 3, 1929, in Dorchester, Mass. Certain Boston folklore portrays Bulger as a Robin Hood-style bandit whose Winter Hill gang was dedicated to protecting the neighborhood and its residents. During his rise to kingpin status, Bulger gained control of a majority of the criminal activity in South Boston: narcotics, extortion, money laundering, murder, etc.

In the early '70s, the FBI was searching for reliable information in their battle against Boston's Patriarca crime family. The FBI approached Bulger and asked him to become an informant. By all accounts, Bulger did become an FBI informant, and his FBI "handler," coincidentally, was a childhood friend named John Connolly.

However, it was Agent Connolly who ended up being the real "informant": Connolly kept Bulger apprised of the FBI's case against Bulger and his gang!

Spring 1994, a joint task force launched a serious probe into Bulger's criminal network. Reportedly, sometime in December 1994, FBI agent Connally informed Bulger he was about to be arrested. Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, took flight.

Bulger, 81, and Greig, 60, were arrested at the inexpensive Princess Eugenia apartment complex in Santa Monica, Calif., June 22, 2011. More than $800,000 cash and a number of weapons were confiscated from Bulger's apartment. Under the husband-and-wife alias of "Charlie and Carol Gasko," a "childless couple from Chicago," Bulger and Greig had been living in the same Princess Eugenia apartment, # 303, for approximately fourteen years.

Though I'd kept abreast of the Whitey Bulger case--before and after his arrest--it wasn't until I watched on television the Sept.14/Sunday edition of 60 Minutes that I learned what very well might have been responsible for Whitey Bulger's capture . . . and I just shook my head in amazement!

First, it is necessary to note that Whitey Bulger had embarrassed the FBI--particularly the Boston office! "We really had to catch this guy to establish credibility after all the other issues," retired FBI Agent Phil Torsney stated on 60 Minutes.

A major hurdle was the FBI didn't have any good, close-up photos of either Bulger or Greig, especially Greig. The feds received a tip that before going on the run in 1994, Greig had undergone breast-implant surgery in Boston. Expectedly, the feds began reaching out to surgeons in the Boston area. A Boston physician who'd performed the breast-implant surgery on Greig contacted the feds: Not only did the physician have Greig's medical file, he had "high-resolution" photos of her.

The FBI immediately began running photos of both Bulger and Greig on television, virtually non-stop, with major emphasis on Greig, along with a 1-800 FBI tip line and the promise of a two-million-dollar reward. It was merely a matter of hours before the FBI received a tip that Whitey Bulger and Catherine Greig could be found at the Princess Eugenia apartment complex in Santa Monica, California. As mentioned, they were arrested there, minus incident, on June 22, 2011.

I find it ironic something as obvious as breast implants led to the arrest of a cagey criminal such as Whitey Bulger, who managed to evade authorities for sixteen years. One would think Whitey and Catherine would've had a conversation along the lines of: Hey, gal, remember those pics the doc took of you for your breast implants? Well, it just makes sense that the feds, one day, will get those pics, and they'll be flashing your mug all over TV. We need to get you down to Mexico for some facial plastic surgery before that happens.

Therefore, I am officially titling the takedown of big-time gangster Whitey Bulger and his moll, Catherine Greig, as the "boob job boo-boo."