The FBI is warning that one of their 10-most-wanted fugitives could be lurking in Victoria’s bookstores.
James J. “Whitey” Bulger, now 80, isn’t a figment of some writer’s imagination. He’s a career criminal who’s been on the run for 15 years. He also loves books — history books, to be exact.
Bulger’s resumé includes warrants for 19 murders in the early 1970s to mid-1980s, racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion and money-laundering and distribution of narcotics. Most of these offences were connected to an organized crime group in Boston.
“We have no specific information that makes us think he’s there — we’ve just been doing a lot of outreach to various law enforcement around the world,” said FBI spokeswoman Gail Maricinkiewicz Monday from Boston.
Victoria’s two major bookstores were visited last week by police on behalf of the FBI to warn staff to keep an eye out for Bulger.
“The FBI don’t have any definite answers that he’s in Victoria, but they’re on the lookout for him,” said Jim Munro, owner of Munro’s Books on Government Street.
“Apparently, he’s quite a book lover and he’s interested in history,” Munro said.
The officers gave Munro and the management at Bolen’s Books posters bearing Bulger’s photo and a number to call.
Munro is bemused that his bookstore could become involved in a real police procedural story. “There are very few cultural murders — it’s very rare,” he joked.
Bulger is said to be armed — he carries a knife — and extremely dangerous. He often walks on beaches and in parks with a woman.
They both love animals, the FBI say.
Bulger left Boston in 1995. The last confirmed sighting of him was in London in 2002, Maricinkiewicz said.
“He likes bookstores and dogs and walks on the beach,” she said.
He’s a coin collector “and he usually operates in cash.”
Even though Bulger is getting on in years, the FBI isn’t about to forgive and forget.
“When we put somebody on the top-10 list, we continue looking for them until we have reason to believe they’re no longer alive,” Maricinkiewicz said.
There’s a challenge to finding Bulger because his look is likely changing as he ages. “We get a lot of look-alike sightings,” Maricinkiewicz said.
“We try to leave no stone unturned because we’re very serious about trying to find Mr. Bulger.”
Bulger is between five-foot-seven and five-foot-nine. He weighs 150 to 160 pounds and has a medium build. His hair is white, his eyes blue and complexion light.
Bulger has been known to alter his appearance through disguises and has numerous aliases. He has travelled throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada and Mexico.
The FBI is offering a $2-million reward for information leading directly to Bulger’s arrest.
Read more: Book-loving fugitive may be in Victoria (external - login to view)