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New England transplants react to the arrest of Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger

June 23, 2011 |  1:10 am

Photo: Police and FBI surround the Santa Monica apartment building where fugitive crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger and his longtime companion, Catherine Greig, were arrested Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press Jim Conners and Matt Harrington are two New England transplants who found themselves singing karaoke at Sonny McLean's in Santa Monica on Wednesday night.

When they got the call that the Boston crime lord James "Whitey" Bulger had been captured by FBI agents in the same part of town, they rushed over to the apartment building where Bulger used to live.

"For us, it's a big deal," said Connors, 40, who originally hails from Foxborough, Mass. and is a former owner of Sonny McLean's.

Photos: The hunt for James "Whitey" Bulger

Several other New England-area transplants stood in disbelief outside the building that just hours earlier had been raided by federal agents.

"I grew up in the same housing authority (as Bulger)," said Jason Mazzeo, 38, wearing a green T-shirt  that read "Southie."

Mazzeo, who runs a carpet-cleaning business, was in Venice when he found out and he rushed over with a friend who is also from Boston.

"If this was Boston, there'd be a thousand people out here," Mazzeo said, standing in front of Bulger's apartment building.

Mazzeo said he grew up hearing about Bulger.

"At some points, he was a legend," he said. "But as time carried and people found out what was going on, he wasn't so popular."

RELATED:

Famed crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger arrested in Santa Monica

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Full coverage: Get the latest on "Whitey" Bulger's arrest

-- Baxter Holmes in Santa Monica

Photo: Police and FBI surround the Santa Monica apartment building where fugitive crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger and his longtime companion, Catherine Greig, were arrested Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press

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