LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: Our next story is the type of fare that made the News of the World the best-selling paper on the planet. We have more details about the Whitey Bulger case, the Boston crime boss and his blond companion, Catherine Greig. She was his girlfriend, his partner-on-the-run and, ultimately, she was his undoing.
The pair evaded the FBI for 16 years. But their luck ran out last month, when FBI agents aired public service announcements targeting Greig. Soon a tip came in that led them to the couple. They were living in Santa Monica of all places. Tomorrow Greig is scheduled to appear in court for a detention hearing.
Christine Pelisek is a staff reporter at The Daily Beast. She profiled Greig and she joins us now to take a closer look.
So, Christine Pelisek, who was Catherine Greig?
CHRISTINE PELISEK: She wasn't the typical gangster moll. She was a dental hygienist. She grew up in Boston, the South Boston area where Whitey Bulger lived. She ended up graduating from Northwestern University, got a Bachelor of Science before she became a dental hygienist. So, you know, she's a lot different than you what you would think.
WERTHEIMER: She sounds like someone who should have better sense than to get involved with somebody like Whitey Bulger.
PELISEK: True enough. You know, she became involved with him, you know, 15 years before they went on the lam. And I mean at the time, you know, he was involved with another woman. And he was with this other woman, Teresa Stanley, for 30 years. And I don't know if she just turned a blind eye. I mean they lived this, you know, comfortable life. They had a house. They had two dogs - two toy poodles.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
PELISEK: And, you know, I hear that she was madly in love with the guy. Maybe that's the reason why.
WERTHEIMER: Well, now, Whitey Bulger has allegedly killed 19 people. I mean he was purportedly involved in the deaths of Catherine Greig's ex-husband's family. So why did she put up with this? Why wouldn't she get the feeling that what she ought to do is just run as fast as she could?
PELISEK: You know, that's really hard to say because, I mean, from what they said he was very violent with some of these women. So why she goes with a guy like that, I mean I don't know.
WERTHEIMER: The FBI found him by finding her. And they found her, as I understand it, because she had a real interest in self-improvement, in plastic surgery, in dental hygiene and having her hair done.
PELISEK: Right. Well, apparently before she went on the lam, she did get her boobs done. She had a bit of plastic surgery done. And what the FBI was thinking that over the years, she probably would need a touch-up. And so last year actually, they started this campaign and they basically put an ad in these plastic surgery newsletters, saying, you know, have you, you know, worked on this woman before. And apparently nothing happened with that. They didn't get any tips.
And then a couple of months later, they tried this dental magazine and they put an ad in that as well, because she was known to get her teeth cleaned constantly. Apparently once a month, she would get her teeth cleaned.
WERTHEIMER: So what was the thing that did it?
PELISEK: Well, they ended up focusing on daytime viewers - the women that go to beauty salons, you know, that aren't necessarily working, that they're retired. Just like Catherine. I mean they're saying that, you know, somebody from overseas, you know, recognized Catherine and called in. But I don't believe that. I think it was somebody in the neighborhood or at a restaurant, or at the store that she went to. It had to be somebody who knew where she lived.
I don't think it was somebody from Iceland or, you know, overseas watching CNN that actually made the call.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
WERTHEIMER: So here's this woman who's going out to all of these appointments, and living in Santa Monica - which certainly would be a very nice place to hide out. Were they there the whole time the FBI was looking for them?
PELISEK: Apparently. I spoke to some people at the apartment complex. And I spoke to this one woman and she said she moved in 15 years ago. And when she moved in they were already there.
You know, Whitey and Catherine used to walk along the beach, you know, in the Boston area. So it's not actually that surprising, in my opinion. I mean there's a lot of beaches in the world. But when it comes down to it, it's not so surprising that they ended up in Santa Monica, 'cause their apartment was three blocks away from the beaches. So he picked a perfect spot.
WERTHEIMER: Christine Pelisek talking with us about Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of the notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. She's a staff reporter at The Daily Beast. She joined us from the studios of the Radio Foundation in New York.
PELISEK: Thank you.
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