The FBI is reviving the 16-year-old manhunt for fugitive South Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger with a new public service announcement about Catherine Greig, Bulger's dental hygienist girlfriend who disappeared alongside the former leader of the South Hill Gang following his indictment on racketeering charges in 1995. Starting Tuesday, this ad will begin airing in fourteen markets where the couple has been spotted over the years.
The FBI press release announcing the new effort says the PSA was designed to "make the public—and specifically women—aware of Greig’s physical characteristics, habits, and personality traits." This strategy is indicative of the ever-widening net the FBI has cast for Bulger, who has been on the Bureau's Ten Most Wanted list since 1999. Among the audiences the FBI has appealed to in recent years:
- Last month, the FBI posted an ad about Bulger and Grieg in the American Dentist Association's newsletter. According to the information, Grieg was known to have her teeth cleaned at least once a month prior to her disappearance. Here's what the ad--complete with pictures of the two fugitives--looked like.
- The FBI increased the reward for information leading to Bulger's capture to $2 million in 2008, up from $1 million. That's the largest reward ever offered for a domestic fugitive.
- In April, the FBI took out a full-page ad in Plastic Surgery News featuring photos of Grieg. The FBI noted that before fleeing with Bulger in 1995, Grieg had "multiple cosmetic procedures, including breast implants, a nose job and a face lift."
Greg Teahan, who has led the FBI's Boston-based Bulger taskforce in 2006, defended the niche manhunt in the press release announcing the new PSAs. “We are trying to reach a different audience that will produce new leads in the case,” explained Teahan. The FBI also took out ads in the trade publications in 2010, which, according to a Boston Globe interview with Teahan generated "50 to 100 leads" from tipsters at home and abroad.