He was number one on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and the agents didn’t even know who he was. Where do old mobsters go to retire? Is it ever possible to steal a bunch of money and live happily ever after somewhere? Well an elderly couple who moved to Santa Monica, California in 1997 tried to begin a new quieter phase of their life. Charlie and Carol Gasko were their fake names for 14 years where they did almost nothing that was memorable meanwhile their apartment was full of supplies, loaded guns and about 800.000 in cash. I’m talking about the later years of the Boston area notorious gangster Whitey Bolger and his longtime girlfriend.
He was caught and is now in prison in his eighties serving two lifetime prison sentences. She is actually Catherine Greig serving 8 years in prison for being his accomplice and harboring a fugitive. I find it interesting they were hiding in plain sight for many years, being considered the number one most dangerous criminal in America and not even known by anyone anymore. The Federal Agents finally woke up and caught the guy. They lived in an inexpensive rent controlled apartment near the shore. They never had children. Their landlord and neighbors thought they were just another nice and quiet retired couple. Great tenants who never complained and always paid their rent on time in cash.
In 2011 the FBI stopped by and ended their quiet retirement. It ended the most extensive manhunt in the FBI’s history. The Agents who were called to arrest him had to look him up on Wilkopedia because no one could remember his crimes. This guy was a retired Irish mobster who was very famous in his day. In Boston he was involved in extortion and flooding the city with cocaine. He performed and ordered executions that were some at close range, some with many bullets and at least one strangulation after which he said he took a nap.
There was a Whitey Bolger task force for years. He was charged with 19 counts of murder as well as other crimes. He was an embarrassment to South Boston law enforcement who couldn’t catch him during these crimes years ago. Years later Whitey was able to embarrass the FBI as well. He bought off agents in the Boston office of the FBI who protected him and supplied him with information. Including the tip that allowed him to flee to California just days before he was about to be indicted. It was corruption at its worst.
In 2009 two more guys joined the task force meanwhile there hasn’t been a lead in more than a decade. Throughout the years there were thousands of tips but no sightings. One of the main obstacles was that there were not any good photographs of the couple recently. It was known that the couple shared a love of pets and that she once had breast implants. The two guys reached out to physicians to check their records. Finally one doctor responded and found her files in storage. The records produced high resolution photographs of Catherine Greig. The FBI switched strategies and at this point went after the girlfriend in order to catch the guy.
The FBI ran commercials with a tip line during day time TV and before long it led them to California. The leads led them to their apartment. The couple fed a stray cat did not have driver’s licenses and basically did not exist in society. They bought everything with cash. The landlord and the tenants could not believe that they knew the number one man on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in America. They got him to emerge from the apartment by telling him that the storage locker in the basement got broken into and to see if his stuff was still there. They caught him without any fuss.
It took so long to find James Whitey Bolger because they were looking for a gangster. This was an 81 year old man living a simple life in a small apartment quietly surrounded by his guns and money. Federal prosecutors are now preparing to distribute nearly $800,000 dollars to the families of his murder victims.