James 'Whitey' Bulger, Boston Mobster, And His Life In Santa Monica
UPDATED -- The Associated Press has more about how Bulger and Greig interacted with their neighbors:
Many people in the Southern California neighborhood where the crime boss lived were not surprised that Bulger could blend in in Santa Monica, a densely populated beachside suburb of Los Angeles where aging, ponytailed hippies, bike-riding environmentalists, Hollywood actors and others regularly rub shoulders with retirees, but usually exchange no more than pleasantries.
"This is the perfect place to hide," said Maura McCormick, who lives in an apartment building next door. "Nobody bothers anyone here."
Seth Rosenzweig, a writer who lives down the hall from Bulger's apartment, said the fugitive, who was partial to baseball caps and dark sunglasses, kept a low profile. He would divert his eyes every time he got into the elevator with other people.
The apartment's managers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the couple, who went by the names Charles and Carol Gasko, had lived there 15 years and were ideal tenants who always paid their rent on time and in cash. Santa Monica property records show the apartment had a rent-controlled rate of $1,145 a month.
Catalina Schlank, who has lived in the building for 35 years, said she was friendly with Greig but not so much so with Bulger, whom she called a recluse. "They were a handsome couple, but they were kind of mysterious," she said.
The couple didn't own a car, choosing to walk everywhere. That's easy to do in their neighborhood, just down the street from the beach.
Schlank said Greig would often walk to a market before dawn, bringing back the couple's groceries in a shopping cart and stopping off to drop Schlank's newspaper at her door, sometimes with some fruit she had picked up.
The apartment managers also recalled that Bulger seemed concerned for the well-being of others, once giving a building worker his flashlight because he was worried about her crossing the road after she finished her shift at night.
PREVIOUSLY -- What were James 'Whitey' Bulger and Catherine Greig doing in Santa Monica?
From what we can tell so far, they were doing what many couples their age might do. Known as Charles and Carole Gasko, the pair lived for 15 years in a simple one-bedroom apartment in the three-story Princess Eugenia complex on Third Street. Janus Goodwin, a neighbor, told the Boston Herald that the couple probably spent $1,100 on rent, never replaced the used furniture that came with the apartment, and furnished the walls with cheap framed posters. They also regularly fed a stray cat and loved walking hand-in-hand up Third Street Promenade, the local outdoor shopping mall.
According to the FBI profile that led to their arrest, the pair were both avid animal lovers and enjoyed taking long walks, so they may have also frequented nearby Santa Monica Beach, Pacific Park, and Reed Park, notes Santa Monica Patch.
While they had a few friends from the apartment complex, the couple often kept to themselves, telling others that Bulger had Alzheimers and could not leave the apartment often, the Boston Herald reports. But while most neighbors believed the two were a kind, retired married couple, sometimes Bulger's famed temper would flash through. The Associated Press reports that Bulger once scolded Greig for chatting with a neighbor, Barbara Gluck:
Gluck described Greig as "sweet and lovely" and said they would have "girl talk" when they ran into each other in the building. Bulger became angry whenever he saw the two of them talking, and would say, "Stop talking to her," Gluck said.
"He was nasty," she added.
"At one point, she (Greig) said he (Bulger) has a rage issue," Gluck said.
When FBI agents finally caught up with James 'Whitey' Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Greig Wednesday night, they uncovered several weapons and a big stash of cash. Even though they had settled down quietly, it's clear that the fugitive pair were always ready to pack up and move on.
The FBI were led to the couple by a tip that came in on the heels of their advertising blitz about Catherine Greig. Investigators had chosen to focus on Greig in order to catch the fugitives, and offered $100,000 for information leading to her arrest. Greig was charged in 1997 for harboring a fugitive. Bulger is charged with murder, extortion, racketeering, and other crimes, and $2 million was being offered as a reward for his capture.