It began with a phone call to the FBI field office in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, just a day after the bureau launched its latest publicity campaign aimed at capturing James “Whitey”’ Bulger.
Less than 24 hours after receiving the tip, authorities said, FBI agents and Los Angeles police arrested the infamous Boston crime boss and his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig, without incident at a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment building near the beach, ending a 16-year international manhunt.
As federal and state authorities described it yesterday, the events leading to the stunning arrests unfolded extraordinarily quickly and smoothly, in stark contrast to the decade and a half of snags and dead ends that investigators encountered.
And a focus on viewers of daytime television programs may have been the key.
On Monday, the Bulger Task Force, an FBI-led team that includes State Police investigators and other federal and state authorities, launched a new media campaign. To those who had followed the fruitless search for Bulger, it seemed no more likely to succeed than earlier efforts.
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