It's not the sort of plot twist you'd find in a Martin Scorsese movie, but it turns out the informant who dropped a dime on the notorious Boston crime lord Whitey Bulger was a Scandinavian beauty queen.
According to the Boston Globe, police officials corralled Bulger, who'd been a fugitive from justice for the past 16 years, thanks to a tip from none other than Miss Iceland 1974. Anna Bjornsdottir had been a neighbor to Bulger and his girlfriend--living under the alias Charles and Carol Gasko--in a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment complex. She had reportedly taken notice of the couple as they doted over a stray neighborhood tabby cat named Tiger.
"The Icelandic beauty, who gained minor fame decades ago starring in Vidal Sassoon and Noxzema commercials, was home in Reykjavik, Iceland, when she saw a CNN report on the FBI's latest effort to track the 82-year-old Bulger and his 60-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Greig," the Boston Globe's Shelly Murphy and Maria Kramer reported in a detailed investigation Sunday. "Bjornsdottir recognized them immediately as the Gaskos."
Even though Bulger reportedly took great precautions to evade detection, he would emerge from his rent-controlled Santa Monica apartment twice a day, together with his girlfriend, "to feed an abandoned, tiger-striped cat," the Globe's report said. And over time, Bjornsdottir took notice of the couple's cat-feeding routine.
And so it came to pass that "with a phone call to the FBI, Bjornsdottir ended one of the longest and most expansive manhunts in FBI history and brought Bulger home to face charges that he had killed 19 people," the Globe wrote.
Bjornsdottir has since collected the $2 million FBI reward for information leading to Bulger's arrest, the Globe reported.
The Globe report notes that the gangster's weakness for the stray tabby wasn't his only downfall. The former Boston mob kingpin also reportedly worried about becoming a heightened target for the Feds after American forces in Pakistan had killed the FBI's most wanted fugitive, Osama bin Laden.
"We know from neighbors who used to see him out in the morning and at night walking that he became sort of reclusive right about the time when Osama bin Laden was killed," the Globe's Sheila Murphy told CBS's "Early Show." "In fact, he used to pick up the free Santa Monica newspaper and deliver it to a couple of neighbors in his building, and he would always warn them, watch for the weekly crime blotter on Fridays, and he stopped doing that right around the time of Osama's death. We think he was a little bit paranoid."
Or maybe, as it turned out, not quite paranoid enough.
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