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Shock and surprise in Southie over Whitey’s capture

Posted by Swati Gauri Sharma  June 23, 2011 08:47 AM

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At the Java House on East Broadway, Jackie Donovan, a Southie native working behind the counter of the coffee shop, said people had been coming in all morning, looking down at the rack with the morning’s newspapers, and shaking their heads in disbelief.

“A lot of people thought they were gag newspapers,” she said, describing the general mood as shock and disbelief.

“I thought they didn’t want him to get caught, to be honest,” Donovan, 26, she said of FBI.

Donovan was talking about the stunning news that Southie’s most infamous native, James “Whitey’’ Bulger was captured in California yesterday.

A customer at the Java House, who wouldn’t give his name, said “I think it’s a waste of money. It would be better if they had just let him fade into the night. Now we have to pay the $2 million reward, pay for all the trial. And the girl (Bulger’s girlfriend Catherine Greig) will probably end up doing more time than any of them, which isn’t fair.”

Dan Rull, a Verizon employee, came in to get his morning coffee and had not heard the news. When asked about Whitey by a Globe reporter, he said, “I think he’s dead.”

When informed that he’d been captured, Rull did a double take, “What?” and grabbed the newspaper.

“I don’t believe it,’’ said Rull, 36. “He was gone for so long, I thought the feds dumped him themselves.”

Rull remembered what a mythological figure Bulger was when he was growing up in the neighborhood.

“If a black Lincoln drove by with tinted windows, you thought it was him,’’ he said. “He was kind of like this Robin Hood back then. But that was before you knew about all the (expletive.) But even still, there are a lot of people who would still defend him in this neighborhood.”

In general, there was a mood of shock and dismay in the neighborhood dominated by the Bulger brothers for decades. Most interviewed said they didn’t think the FBI actually wanted to catch him.

A few were wistful because the capture means the end of Southie’s favorite game -- Where’s Whitey?

Outside the East Third Street of former Senate President William Bulger, television news trucks began taking over the neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. today.

A light was on in the house, but there were no signs of activity.

At Castle Island, a place Whitey Bulger liked to frequent, just a few early-morning joggers were out at 6 a.m. Inside the US Army Signal Corps building near the castle, a few men were playing cribbage, but only one would share his views on the capture.

He said he hoped the feds would come out with the whole truth now, putting an end to the speculation of what Bulger did while working as an FBI informant, which is one of Southie’s favorite past times.

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