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The FBI launched a national television ad in an attempt to track down one of America’s 10 Most Wanted: James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, an 81-year-old Boston gangster. Bulger was; wanted in connection with 19 murders. The ad featured Catherine Greig, a 60-year-old former dental hygienist who has been on the run with him.
The couple was on the run for 16 years, last seen together in London in 2002
The FBI ran a 30-second public service announcement in areas where they believed Bulger and Greig still had connections. They believed that broadcasting Catherine Geig’s photo amongst those in her age group would lead to a tip about her whereabouts and ultimately to the arrest of Bulger.
The ad wasn’t the most creative. Regardless, “the just the facts” method, featuring not the suspect, but his girlfriend, was successful. About 36 hours after the ad debuted in 14 cities, the FBI found Bulger and his girlfriend Greig in Santa Monica, Calif.
FBI spokesman Greg Comcowich said a tipster called the FBI after she saw the ad. The tipster led agents to the California home of Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger and his longtime girlfriend, The Associated Press reported.
The FBI’s 30-second TV commercial was created by two small agencies in Maine: Northeast Media Associates and Blackfly Media.
The FBI used about $5,000 for the TV production, in addition to $45,000 for the use of media publication, which included two cities in California: San Francisco and San Diego.
The FBI has used TV ads in the past but not to this extent, said Daymon Katz, chief counsel at the FBI’s Boston division. The ad ran during daytime programs such as: The View, The Dr. Oz Show and Rachael Ray, Katz added. These shows appeal to women in the same age demographic as Grieg.
The ad was scheduled to run for a week, but right after Bulger’s arrest it was pulled. The government is seeking a refund for the remainder of the time according to Katz.