HARS - High value information Alert and Reporting System
James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger
The following story is a true, real-life, first-person account about a possible encounter with one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted fugitives, which occurred about fifteen years ago. It illustrates the importance of getting information out to the public. There are lessons to be learned from this account and VitaStar Solutions is grateful to the person who lived this story, allowed us to write his story and permission to share it with others.
James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger was a person who enjoyed his self-image as a modern-day Robin Hood. He as dedicated to protecting the neighborhood and its residents through his protection racket against drug kingpins and those running illegal gambling operations. Because he was an informant for the FBI, he was basically ignored and allowed to continue running his company.
At the age of 81 year old, he was arrested in Santa Monica, California and shortly thereafter was extradited to Massachusetts where on June 12, 2013 he went on trial for nineteen alleged murders and other charges.
During the late 1990’s, Bulger spent some time traveling in Europe and also was in the U.S. traveling between Boston, New York, Chicago and New Orleans. It is speculated that it was during a trip between New Orleans and Chicago that he stopped in the mid-West city where this story occurred.
Because of his long-outstanding elusiveness and his notorious past, the FBI was extremely interested in bringing his apprehension to a conclusion. As a result his later wanted posters announcing a two (2) million dollar reward were printed in English, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
It was a medium sized mid-West city with a population of about 190,000, not too big, not too small. It had the appropriate number of churches and bars for the population, but only one “biker bar”. It was a typical biker bar with the bar, tables, pool table, and a “back room” where there was another pool table, some tables and a small stage with a stripper pole. Also typical was the poor lighting, the characteristic smell produced by the mix of beer and tobacco, most likely mixed indiscriminately on the floor through split beer and cigarettes whose flame had been ground to extinction under a boot heal. Also of course was the bathroom which stunk and was most likely a health hazard.
It was a pleasant summer day and I was out for a nerve-relaxing ride on my Harley and thought I’d stop by the bike bar for a beer and a little socialization before heading back home. I expected to have chat with my beer for I had been there often enough to know almost everyone. There was a stranger there, he was not a regular and not a biker, and something about him seemed odd. He was aloof, but had a deportment of quiet confidence and had piercing, watchful eyes. I was there a few hours and let my gaze, casually check him. He was not social, but seemed relaxed and was just waiting, for what I reason I didn’t know. Because of my curiosity and repeated, inquiring glances his image was imprinted in my mind.
About one week later I happened to be in a small U.S. Post Office and while I waited to be served, I picked up a clip-board with wanted posters. I flipped through the posters and about ten down my flipping stopped and I stared at the poster before me. The person looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. As I read about the person I noted he was wanted for murder but his whereabouts were unknown for a long time. The picture displaced was not recent and I continued to stare at it. In my mind I tried to age the person and as I did I concluded that there was a high probability that it was the person I had watched in the biker bar. The name on the picture was Whitey Bulger.
The next day I looked up the address of the local FBI office and went there. In the office, on the wall, was the same picture I had seen in the Post Office and it said he was one of the FBI’s ten most wanted fugitives. The agent came out and I told him my story. It didn’t take too long because I didn’t have much information to report, only my fuzzy, mental aging of the photograph compared to the person I had watched in the biker bar. Well – that’s it. I don’t know for sure if that was Whitey Bulger. When I finished my report to the FBI I was thanked and that was the last I heard from them. I didn’t like that. They take my information as if I was obligated to report but was not appreciated for trying to do what I thought was my civic duty. Maybe I felt that way because of the agents cold, indifferent attitude – who knows.
- Several comments follow concerning this person’s “incident”, which has no bearing on whether or not the guy in the biker bar was Whitey Bulger:
- The Public is a cooperative, concerned Public who has “many eyes” in “many places”.
- The response by the biker who encountered the “suspicious person” resulted from a very small, fortuitous chance viewing of the wanted posture. Obviously, the more viewing opportunities there are the more likelihood the Public eyes will be alerted and become an active part of the equation.
- The reporting occurred several days after the “sighting”. Obviously, the more reporting opportunities are available, and the easier it is to report, the quicker the reporting can occur and the quicker a validating inspection can occur.
- Without some follow-up by the FBI, the person reporting the encounter may become discouraged and not so ready or willing to be as observant in the future.