John Dillinger, when asked what he did for a living, simply responded, “I rob banks.” It could be debated that Dillinger’s choice of occupation actually helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared John Dillinger public enemy No. 1, the department was on its way to becoming the premier law enforcement agency of the land, finally gunning down Dillinger in 1934.
Up to that time Dillinger, along with his gang, made a mockery of the newly created bureau.
With the apprehension of James “Whitey” Bulger in June of this year, the FBI was basking in the media spotlight. A department spokesperson at the time reminded us that regardless of how long it takes — they always get their man.
In Whitey’s case it took 16 years. This Boston mobster, responsible for 19 murders, was tipped off by FBI agent John Connolly and had been on the lam ever since. Whitey apparently had friends in high places including the Boston Police Department, judges and the FBI itself. So capturing this well-connected mob boss may have been more harmful to those close to him than letting him slip away. When news broke of Whitey’s capture in Santa Monica, everyone living west of the Hudson River asked: “Who’s ‘Whitey’ Bulger?” New York’s acclaimed crime boss John Gotti was the only familiar Mafia name around our dinner table.
The FBI finally tracked Whitey down by pursuing his longtime female companion Catherine Greig, who was known for her fastidious attention to dental care. And how long did it take the FBI to pursue that angle?
With Bulger’s capture and Osama bin Laden’s death (he was public enemy No. 1) the top two names on the Ten Most Wanted list are now crossed off. So now the question is: Who is No. 3?
That honor goes to Glen Stewart Godwin.
Godwin, a convicted murderer, escaped from Folsom Prison in 1987. He was caught later that year by Mexican authorities for drug trafficking. While serving his sentence in Guadalajara Godwin killed another inmate. He escaped from the Guadalajara prison five months later and is still at large.
Folsom Prison authorities are still fuming over Godwin’s escape. Perhaps the FBI could pull some strings and have John Connolly, the agent responsible for tipping off Bulger, serve his time in Godwin’s empty cell.
Jason Derek Brown is also on the list. He’s wanted for murder and armed robbery inPhoenix. Brown is fluent in French and has a Master’s Degree in International Business. According to his profile he’s an avid golfer, snowboarder, skier and dirt biker. With hobbies like that it’s little wonder he resorted to robbery. There’s currently a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Just remember my 15 percent finder’s fee.
Then there’s Victor Manuel Gerena. He’s been on the run since 1983 and is being sought in connection with armed robbery of $7 million from a Connecticut security company. With that kind of money he might be hard to locate. Could be the reason it’s taken the FBI 28 years … and counting.
Also on the list is Robert William Fisher. He’s wanted for killing his wife and two children and then blowing up their house in a Phoenix suburb. His FBI profile states he’s an avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman with a gold crown on his upper left bicuspid tooth. He walks with an exaggerated erect posture and pushes his chest out due to a lower back injury. He also enjoys chewing tobacco and has ties withFlorida.
I may have spotted Fisher at the Daytona 500 last February because … well … let’s just leave it at that. This cat may be difficult to locate if he’s taken refuge in Florida. But returning to his old neighborhood is definitely out of the question since leaving a gaping hole where his house once stood.
Rounding off the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list are Semion Mogilevich, Alexis Flores, Eduardo Ravelo and Joe Luis Saenz. An odd cast of characters wanted for kidnapping, murder, gang activities, racketeering and other vile acts of criminal activity.
How long it takes the FBI to nab these eight criminals depends on time, tenacity and, of course, some good old fashioned luck. If not for his girlfriend’s teeth and a television segment airing the cold case Whitey might still be strolling the beach at Santa Monica.
So he just happened to be wearing bedroom slippers at the ripe old age of 81 while living with his “lady in red.” At least the FBI can still claim they got their man.
Richard Esposito is the publisher of Village Life. Contact him at [email protected]