Published October 10, 2011
A chance meeting in Santa Monica, California between fugitive gangster Whitey Bulger and former actress Anna Björnsdóttir helped bring him to justice.
Bulger had been wanted by the FBI for many years for his involvement in organised crime in the Boston area, facing charges ranging from extortion and racketeering to murder. But Bulger managed to slip through the cracks, escaping to California.
The Boston Globe now reports that one of the key people instrumental in bringing Bulger down was none other than actress Anna Björnsdóttir, who happened to be his neighbour, living near his Santa Monica apartment.
It all started with a stray cat named Tiger, which Bulger’s girlfriend Catherine Greig – known to her friends as Carol Gasko – used to feed and at one point took to the vet. Anna was touched by her love for the cat, and thought of her fondly. But then:
The Icelandic beauty, who gained minor fame decades ago starring in Vidal Sassoon and Noxzema commercials, was home in Reykjavik, Iceland, when she saw a CNN report on the FBI’s latest effort to track the 82-year-old Bulger and his 60-year-old girlfriend, Catherine Greig. Bjornsdottir recognized them immediately as the Gaskos, her former neighbors – Tiger’s benefactors – an ocean away on Third Street.
With a phone call to the FBI, Bjornsdottir ended one of the longest and most expansive manhunts in FBI history and brought Bulger home to face charges that he had killed 19 people, some of whose bodies were unearthed while the gangster was posing as a retiree in Southern California.
Anna, who now works as a graphic designer, ended up collecting $2 million of a $2.1 million reward for Bulger.
Bulger is currently in custody, facing at least 19 separate murder charges.