fb-pixel Skip to main content

Bulger neighbor shares story about his capture

With the release of “Black Mass,” it’s all Whitey Bulger all the time. But the story Josh Bond tells about the South Boston mobster is more entertaining than most. Bond, 32, is a BU grad who manages the building in Santa Monica, Calif., where Bulger (inset) and girlfriend Catherine Greig were living when the FBI finally moved in. And he was instrumental in their capture. Bond shared his story about the elderly neighbor he knew as Charlie Gasko the other night on the NPR storytelling show, “The Moth.” (Bond told the story in front of an audience in New Hampshire last April, but it’s being broadcast for the first time this month.) It begins four or five years before Gasko — er, Bulger — was captured in 2011. “The first time I met him, I opened the door and there was a 70-year-old man holding a black case. He told me he heard me playing music and he liked it,” said Bond, who plays in a band called For The Kings. “He thought I could use this black Stetson cowboy hat.” Fast forward a few years. Bond is contacted by agents with the FBI, who showed him pictures of Bulger and asked if he might be the guy living next door. “This is an old man who bought me a bike light one time because he was worried about me riding my bike at night without one,” Bond told the crowd. “Now I’m learning he’s a notorious fugitive.” When the FBI asked for his help, Bond hesitated. “My first response was, ‘I just gave you the keys to his apartment and told you he lives there, so I’m not sure what else I can do.’ ” What he could do — and did — was help lure Bulger downstairs, where he was arrested. Bond told us he’s seen “Black Mass” and deemed it only “all right.” “I don’t know if Johnny Depp ever talked to him, but in the movie he doesn’t sound like him,” said Bond. If you’re wondering if Bond ever worried for his safety after Whitey’s arrest, the answer is yes. “Friends were taking bets on how much longer I had to live.” But Bond eventually exchanged letters with the imprisoned gangster, who told his former neighbor: “They had me with or without you. No worries.”