Bulger spent 15 years in same place

LOS ANGELES -- Boston mob boss James ''Whitey'' Bulger spent almost all of his 16 years on the lam in the same Santa Monica apartment complex, paying his rent in cash every month while he and his girlfriend hid from one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history, the property managers said Thursday.

The managers, who asked their names not be used because they didn't want additional attention from the media, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the couple -- who went by the names Charles and Carol Gasko -- moved in around 1996.

The FBI finally caught the 81-year-old Bulger and longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig on Wednesday, after a 16-year manhunt. The model for the ruthless gangland boss played by Jack Nicholson in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie ''The Departed,'' Bulger was wanted for 19 murders.

''He left a trail of bodies,'' said Tom Duffy, a retired state police major in Massachusetts. ''You did not double-cross him. If you did, you were dead.''

The arrest was based on a tip that came just days after the FBI began circulating pictures of Greig on daytime TV. The campaign that started Monday asked people, particularly women, to be on the lookout for Greig, pointing out she had plastic surgery several times before going on the lam and was known to frequent beauty salons and visit the dentist every month.

The FBI was hoping that a patron or employee of a dental office, hospital, manicurist, beauty salon or other business would remember seeing Greig.

Damon Katz, chief counsel for the FBI in Boston, wouldn't comment on Bulger living in the same place for almost the entire time he was a fugitive.

The property managers at the Princess Eugenia, a three-story, 28-unit building of one- and two-bedroom apartments, recalled the couple as sweet people and ideal tenants who always paid their rent on time. Santa Monica property records show the apartment had a rent-controlled rate of $1,145 a month.

In one instance, the man gave a worker at the apartment building his flashlight because he was concerned about her crossing the road after she finished her shift at night. When the father of one the property managers' parents died, the man sent a card offering his condolences, and he periodically sent gifts to people at the complex.

Meanwhile, Bulger had a $2 million reward on his head and rose to No. 1 on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list after Osama bin Laden was killed. He had fled in 1995.

FBI agents put the apartment under surveillance on Wednesday afternoon and, employing a ruse that officials would not explain, lured Bulger out and arrested him without incident, authorities said.

A variety of guns and a large amount of cash were found in the apartment, the FBI said. Federal investigators declined to say how Bulger got enough money to live on.