Thursday, 4:30 PM
When in Rome... try not to look like Whitey Bulger
One of the photos being studied by Italian police.
By Globe Staff
Italian police appear to have their eyes peeled for James J. "Whitey" Bulger, the aging fugitive gangster who may have been sighted there in the spring. Two couples have stepped forward in recent days with tales of being stopped by police because they bore a resemblance to Bulger and his girlfriend.
Vincent Kavanagh, 69, and his wife, Mary, 63, were taken into custody by police in Rome for seven hours, the Globe's Kevin Cullen reports in his column today.
After their ordeal, the New Jersey couple were driven to a nice restaurant, where 20 percent was taken off the bill.
"The Kavanaghs had the veal, and it was delicious," Cullen reports.
Terri and Bob Dowdy, both 68, of Rhode Island, were on a two-week vacation when they were stopped three times by police in the northern Italian town of Perugia -- and the third time police asked them to go to the station.
"The first two days were funny," said Terri Dowdy, a retired attorney whose husband is a salesman.
The third day was ruined by the trip to the station, she said, but the hotel maitre d' gave them a big bowl of fruit, wine, and an apology, and dinner was on the house at the restaurant they went to that night.
In mid-September, the FBI said that Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, may have been spotted in Sicily in April. The FBI posted a video and stills of the possible sighting to the Internet, hoping for publicity in Italy and throughout Europe.
Bulger, 78, is one of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted," and Greig, 56, is believed to be traveling with him.
Bulger, a longtime FBI informant, was warned to flee just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston by his former handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. Bulger has eluded authorities ever since, despite a worldwide manhunt. Since he fled, he's been charged with 19 murders. The FBI is offering a $1 million reward for information that leads to his capture.