Whitey Bulger arrest: Couple lived undetected in Santa Monica for 14 years, property manager says
The name was on the building directory for everyone to see: Gasko. And according to their landlord, the couple -– known as Charles and Carol Gasko -– had lived an uneventful life in their rent-controlled Santa Monica apartment for more than a decade.
But now federal authorities say that Charles and Carol Gasko were actually James "Whitey" Bulger, 81, and Catherine Greig, 60. Bulger, was one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, a notorious Boston crime boss sought in connection with at least 19 killings, racketeering and other crimes.
The property manager, who asked not to be identified, told The Times that the couple had lived in the Santa Monica apartment for at least 14 years. They paid rent of a little more than $1,100 a month in cash, which was not all that unusual, the property manager said. FBI officials also confirmed that Bulger had been living at the residence for "a long period of time."
The property manager said he had little contact with the couple other than occasional, brief conversations with Greig.
Neighbors said the couple did little that would be considered out of the ordinary and blended into the Santa Monica neighborhood, taking walks on the Third Street Promenade and visiting the 99 Cent Store on Wednesdays for weekly sales on organic produce.
Although some neighbors said they had seen the pair walking a dog, the property manager said they did not have one. The building has a no-pet policy.
Federal law enforcement officials in Washington and Boston said they received a good tip on Greig's whereabouts Tuesday night after airing public service announcements in 14 cities across the country.
They began watching the Santa Monica residence Wednesday afternoon for several hours, then used a ruse to lure Bulger out. They arrested the couple without incident.
One official said that when taken in, Bulger looked "a lot older" and not quite aware of what was happening.
"He was just a very quiet guy," said one FBI official. "He was a very unassuming individual, and I don’t know anyone who knew where he was. He was not the kind to draw attention to himself, and that's how he escaped detection and capture all these years."
A woman who lived across the hall from the couple said Bulger appeared to be mentally deteriorating.
In an interview with The Times inside her third-floor apartment, Barbara Gluck said Greig told her that Bulger was suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
His girlfriend, Gluck said, would accompany him everywhere and she never saw him alone. Gluck would often say hello to the woman, whom she described as glamorous and charming. When the woman smiled and said hello back, Bulger would snap, "Why are you saying hello to her?"
"She was living with hell ... he was a rageaholic," Gluck said. "I worried about her."
Still, Gluck said she was charmed by the pair: "How can I put this? They were a very attractive couple."
-- Robert Faturechi in Santa Monica and Richard Serrano in Washington
Photo: FBI agents carry boxes of evidence from the apartment building in Santa Monica where Boston crime boss James "Whitey'' Bulger was arrested Wednesday night. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times