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Authorities probed 'Whitey' Bulger sightings in L.A. area in years before arrest

June 22, 2011 |  9:54 pm

Click through for more photos.

The arrest of legendary Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger in Santa Monica comes after speculation that the gangster might have been living in Orange County.

There had been alleged Bulger sightings around the country over the last decade and a half, though he remained a fugitive.

In 2000, there was a flurry of activity in the Fountain Valley area when a tipster called authorities after a woman believed to be Bulger's girlfriend, Catherine Greig, had her hair done at a Fountain Valley salon. Bulger and Greig had been featured on a recent segment od  "America's Most Wanted."

Photos: The hunt for James "Whitey" Bulger

At the time, officials said they were not sure if Bulger was in Orange County, and nothing appeared to come of the tip.

Then in 2005, the FBI looked into whether Bulger was the elderly man who had robbed three Orange County banks.  "Absolutely, there's speculation," an FBI spokeswoman said at the time. "But although we can't say it's absolutely not him, we really don't think it is."

Again, the trail appeared to grow cold in the case, and no link was made to Bugler.

Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with 21 killings, racketeering and other crimes that spanned the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.


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-- Shelby Grad

Photo: The FBI released these photos of James "Whitey" Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, on Monday. Credit: FBI