We’ve all become accustomed to sifting through nearly incomprehensible news stories about complex financial crimes. They usually involve hedge funds, offshore accounts and other economic tomfoolery that most of us can only marvel at.

But every now and then, a good old-fashioned crime story comes along that we can all sink our teeth into. And one of those happened yesterday.

It was reported that James “Whitey” Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, Calif. His crimes were of the decidedly non-yawn-inducing variety: He was sought in connection with up to 21 murders in the 1970s and 1980s.

Read the story here.

So rip-roaring was this criminal’s (excuse me, suspect’s) yarn that when acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorcese looked around for a compelling story, Bulger’s came to the fore. Out of his own brand of domestic terrorism, we got the admirable movie “The Departed.”

James J. Bulger in 1959, Alcatraz

Adding to the intrigue was the fact that the FBI, which will get attaboys for catching someone who has been on the lam for a decade, also was harshly criticized for their own cozy relationship with the accused murderer. In fact, it was a former Boston FBI agent who tipped off Bulger back in 1995 that he was about to be indicted that caused him to amscray; and that agent was later convicted of second-degree murder for other tipoffs he gave Bulger that led to killings. Ludlum and Turow couldn’t do much better than that.

Not enough to draw you in? Try this: His younger brother is William M. Bulger, a former President of the Massachusetts State Senate and the University of Massachusetts.

A sidebar to this tale comes from the Los Angeles Times, which asks, “Is ‘Whitey’ Bulger OC’s elderly bandit?”

The 2005 story was one of a string of possible Bulger sightings; time and evidence will tell whether he robbed Orange County banks. Clearly, the economy has forced many retirees to continue to toil at their lifelong profession.

Having lived in Orange County and enjoyed the L.A. area, I chuckle a bit at the specter of an old mobster living out his golden years amidst the sun, surf and celebrity. Finally, it appears, his relaxation plans have been put on hold. Congratulations to the FBI.

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