The Biggest Rat: Whitey Bulger’s Decades of Deceit – Part 1 – Whitey’s Capture
The first time aspiring musician Joshua Bond met “America’s Most Wanted Fugitive, Whitey Bulger, Bond knew the spry 77-year-old retiree as plain old Charlie Gasko.
In 2007, the 26-year old Bond had just moved to Santa Monica, California with plans of getting involved in the Hollywood scene; either cinematically, or in the music business. Bond played guitar in a band called the “Kings.” But work was sparse, and he needed a way to pay the rent and keep food on the table while he pursued his dreams. As a result, Bond took a job as co- manager of the Princess Eugenia Apartments in Santa Monica, California. As part of his perks, Bond was given free living quarters in apartment 304. His next door neighbor, living in apartment 303, was Charlie Gasko and his wife Carol (real name Catherine Greig).
Bond like to play the guitar in his apartment; sometimes loud enough to be heard clearly through the walls into apartment 303. One day, after a particularly stirring rift on his guitar, Bond heard a knock on his apartment door. This was the first time this phenomenon had occurred, and Bond figured he was about to get a neighborly complaint about the noise. Instead, when Bond opened the door, he came face to face with the man he knew as “Charlie” from next door. Bond recoiled, waiting for a sting of obscenities, but he got a present instead.
While Bond stood there quivering, Whitey told Bond he was found of his music, which was a cross between country western and the blues. That said; Whitey handed Bond a black wool Stetson hat, with a leather band sprinkled with silver buttons.
“I don’t wear this hat anymore,” Whitey told Bond. “I think maybe you could use it.”
Bond, tickled pick at the lack of a reprimand, eagerly accepted the hat, and he bid Whitey goodbye.
But it was not goodbye for long.
Whitey had the habit of knocking on Bond’s door at least twice a week; supposedly to make small talk. But, in fact, Bulger, after being on the run for 16 years, didn’t trust anybody, and he wanted to know all he could about everything connected to the Princess Eugenia Apartments. Being pals with the co-manager seemed like a good business acumen.
Whitey being Whitey, he found it difficult to intrude on his young friend without bearing gifts: whether Bond wanted them, or needed them. In short order, Whitey gave Bond a beard trimmer; a subtle hint that maybe Bond was looking a little too scruffy; and Whitey didn’t like scruffy.
Whitey was a fitness buff, and he thought maybe Bond was a little out of shape for a man fifty years Whitey’s junior. So Whitey dipped into his retirement savings, and bought Bond a weight set, complete with a bench and a stomach-crunching thingamajig.
Over the years, Whitey was precise about taking care of the assistant manager of the Princess Eugenia Apartments in a proper manner. During the Christmas holidays, instead of cash, Whitey bequeathed Bond a spiffy decorative plate, and one year he gave Bond an Elvis Presley coffee table (Whitey figured no musician should ever be without one).
However, Whitey was a bit gruff, and he insisted on proper decorum when it came to Bond recognizing Whitey’s largess. One holiday, Whitey left a bag full of Christmas presents at Bond’s door. But when Whitey’s and Bond’s paths crossed in the underground garage, Bond mentioned nary a word about the presents. This pissed Whitey more than a little bit, and he reprimanded Bond for his lack of respect; even going as far as to “suggest” Bond pen him and Carol a sincere thank-you note. Bond complied, and wrote it off as nothing more than an old man asking for his due, which was only proper.
During the period from 2007- 2011 Bond and Whitey maintained a friendly relationship; sort of an uncle/nephew accord, where Whitey dispensed advice, and Bond made believe he took Whitey’s advice. There was no reason to get Charlie all riled up about anything.
Whitey seemed like a nice old man, but Bond was only interested in his music career, and putting up with Whitey was part of the job of being co-manager of the Princess Eugenia Apartments. Bond basically humored Whitey, and Whitey ate up what seemed to be the young man’s acquiescence to Whiitey’s superior intellect and life-long experiences.
Bond knew of only one instance where old Charlie Gasko indicated he was capable of any violence; and this was because Whitey told Bond about the incident himself.
The Ocean View Manor, a state-licensed residential facility for the mentally disabled, was located a few doors down from Princess Eugenia Apartments. Mentally ill people sometimes do strange things, and one resident in particular got his jollies by hiding in the bushes near the facility; then springing out at an unsuspecting passersby; scaring them out of their skins.
One night, as was his wont, Whitey took his moll, Catherine Greig, on a late-night fitness stroll. Suddenly, the crank bounded from the bushes; intending to scare Whitey and Greig.
However, Whitey Bulger doesn’t scare too easily.
Whitey told Bond when the lunatic rushed at him and Carol, Whitey, who always kept a big knife strapped to his ankle, grabbed the man by the neck. Bulger pulled out his knife, waved it in the man’s face, and told him, “If you ever do that to me again, I will cut you to pieces.”
Fast-forward to June 22, 2011.
Bond intended to go to a concert in Hollywood that evening with his pal, Neal Marsh, to see the band, “My Morning Jacket.” The other co-manager of the Princess Eugenia Apartments, Birgitta Farinelli, had gone on vacation. And Bond told his assistant, Thea, to take over the manager’s desk for him, located in the hotel across the street from Princess Eugenia Apartments, while Bond sawed a few afternoon Z’s on his apartment couch.
It was about 3:30 pm, when Bond’s phone rang, rousing him from a deep sleep. Thea was on the other line, and she told Bond F.B.I. agents were in the office, and they said they needed to speak to Bond immediately about one of the tenants.
This did not please Bond too much. He was ready to motor off to Hollywood in a few hours, and he didn’t need any unnecessary distractions.
Thea handed the phone to F.B.I. agent, Scott Garriola, and he told Bond that it was imperative Bond come to the office immediately.
“Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” Bond said.
“No, it can’t,” Garriola said. “I need you here now!”
Knowing you don’t argue with the feds, Bond dragged himself off his couch, splashed a little water on his face, and then exited his apartment. When he reached his office, he met Garriola and another agent. The agents showed Bond a cycle of photos of the people Bond knew as Charlie and Carol Gasko, and they asked Bond if he could confirm their identities.
“Yes, I know them,” Bond told Garriola. “That’s Charlie and Carol from apartment 303.”
“Are you absolutely sure?” Garriola said.
“Definitely, that’s them,” Bond said.
Garriola told Bond who his neighbors really were, and he included the information that Whitey was alleged to be a mass murderer. Garriola asked Bond if he would be so kind as to go to apartment 303, and knock on the door.
Bond was not brave, but he also was not stupid. Bond didn’t mind knocking on apartment 303 to talk to old Charlie. But getting in the face of a lunatic like Whitey Bulger was not on Bond’s list of things to do.
So, Garriola came up with a plan which did not put Bond in any unnecessary danger. Garriola wanted to arrest Whitey outside his apartment, because Whitey’s M.O. indicated he kept an arsenal of guns nearby at all times. First, Garriola ran down to Whitey’s storage locker, located in the garage of the Princess Eugenia Apartments. Using a pair of bolt cutters, Garriola chopped Whitey’s lock to pieces; giving the impression petty thieves had stolen Whitey’s goods.
Rushing back to the Princess Eugenia Apartments’ office, Garriola told the quivering Bond to phone apartment 303, and tell Whitey that his locker had been broken into. By this time Bond had done a little googling of Whitey on the office computer, and what he discovered did not calm down his nerves.
Bond later told CBS News, “I went to his (Whitey’s) Wikipedia page, and I’m kinda, like, scrolling through, and it’s like, murder and extortion and all this stuff.”
Bond finally summoned up the courage, and he phoned apartment 303.
Then he tried the cell phone number Carol (Catherine Greig) had given him as a backup.
Still no answer.
After Garriola confirmed with a fellow agent their surveillance showed there was definitely a man and a woman presently in apartment 303, Garriola tried again to convince Bond to knock on the door of apartment 303.
Bond again refused, and who could blame him? He wasn’t getting paid by the Princess Eugenia Apartments to put his life on the line.
Before Garriola decided what to do, the phone rang in the manager’s office. It was Catherine Greig inquiring if Bond had just called her cell phone. Bond admitted he had, and he told Greig Garriola’s malarkey about the Gasko’s storage locker having been broken into.
Grieg hesitated, and then after conferring with Whitey, she said her husband would meet Bond in the garage.
In the underground garage, Whitey didn’t get close to his locker. Before he knew what was happening, Whitey was surrounded by more than 40 F.B.I. agents in full riot gear. Garriola ordered Whitey down onto his knees. Whitey was dressed in white clothes with a white summer hat, and was a noted Howard Hughes-type neat-freak, afraid of the slightest grime.
“Fuck you!” Whitey said. “There’s oil on the floor!”
Garriola told Whitey to move a few steps to his right, and then to get down on his knees.
Whitey cursed some more. He found a clean spot and got down on his knees, where the agents cuffed Whitey behind his back.
“Please identify yourself,” Garriola said.
“I’m Charlie Gasko,” Whitey said.
“You’re not Charlie Gasko,” Garriola said. “How about we go upstairs and ask your girlfriend to identify you as Charlie Gasko? She’s in enough trouble already.”
“Okay. You know who I am,” Whitey said. “I’m Whitey Bulger.”
The 16-year manhunt for the “Most Wanted” criminal in America was finally over.