Whitey Bulger, Ever the Dollar Store Shopper

CBS's 60 Minutes focused on the gangster's life in hiding.

When FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola searched the Santa Monica apartment where Whitey Bulger eluded authorities for years, he found a shelf of 64-oz bottles with tube socks stretched over them. Garriola asked Bulger what they were, he remembered in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS Sunday, and Bulger replied:

“‘I buy tube socks from the 99-cent store and they’re too tight on my calves and that’s the way I stretch them out.’”

So Garriola asked, “Why are you shopping at the 99-cent store? You have half a million dollars under your bed.”

“I had to make the money last,” Bulger told him. To which we say … There’s making money last and then there’s altering 99 cent tube socks.

“60 Minutes” has long followed the Bulger saga, including memorable interviews with former Bulger associates John Martorano and Kevin Weeks. Steve Kroft’s Sunday interviews with agents involved in the investigation gave a few details like that one about Bulger’s life on the run. (The Boston Globe writeup about the show makes sure to note that “Few new details were revealed,” and many of the interviews were previously reported. Always competitive, the Globe is.)

Bulger’s worst fear, according to retired FBI agent Phil Torsney, was dying in his apartment and having investigators discover the body of a man who had once been the most wanted in America. Bulger told Torsney that if he felt death coming on,  “He’d go down to Arizona, crawl down into the bottom of one of these mines and die and decompose.” That way, Bulger hoped, the FBI would look for him forever.

When Bulger was arrested, Garriola asked him if he was relieved it was over. Maybe he remembered his old hope that he’d cultivate an eternal mystery by dying undiscovered rather than in a jail cell after a trial that destroyed his myth when he replied. “Are you fucking nuts?” he said.