Beauty Queen Catches Renowned Organized Crime Fugitive

Whitey BulgerWhen the raft of inevitable made-for-TV movies comes out about the life on the lam and capture of longtime Boston organized-crime fugitive Whitey Bulger, I'm totally planning to plunk myself right down on the sofa to watch every single one of them. The story has all the elements: love, loyalty, mystery, fear, intrigue, beaches, and swaying palm trees -- and a climax brought on by a former Miss Iceland and a stray cat.

Nope, I'm not kidding you: This notoriously hot-tempered Boston crime kingpin was wanted for his role in 19 murders from the 1970s to the mid-1980s, along with various other unseemly nefarious dealings. He had been high on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list for more than a decade (he'd eluded arrest for 16 years, until he was nabbed in June) and was brought down by a former tiara-wearing beauty queen and the frisky feline who'd captured his heart.

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Turns out Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, a former dental assistant, had been living for years in a modest apartment in California, not far from the Santa Monica pier. They were friendly to neighbors and regularly chatted with the building's super. She shopped at the local farmers' market and told at least one neighbor that her husband was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's.

Sure, they kept the curtains drawn and had put plastic up over one window, and he didn't really venture out so much, but neighbors just figured they were like any other old retired couple -- until they saw Bulger in cuffs one day, being hauled away by the FBI. A trove of about 30 guns and $822,000 in cash was uncovered hidden in the walls of their apartment.
 
Who dropped the dime?

The Boston Globe has just fingered Anna Bjornsdottir, a former model and actress who was crowned Miss Iceland in 1974. Bjornsdottir had gotten to know Bulger and Greig while staying at a hotel across the street from their apartment building. The couple used to come over to the hotel daily to feed a stray cat. (Their apartment building didn't allow pets.) And when the former pageant winner, who lives in Reykjavik, saw a report about the couple on CNN, she promptly tipped off authorities as to their whereabouts, collecting a $2 million reward for her troubles.

Here's hoping there will be no retribution now that the media has outed her as the tipster.

But, wow. Is that a story or what?

 

Image via mitbbsnews2/Flickr

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