BOSTON – Former Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger could soon see some of his jewelry, clothes and other belongings on the auction block.
The U.S. Marshals Service will auction off many of the items seized from Bulger's California apartment after his arrest two years ago, The Boston Globe reported Saturday. Authorities say the profits will be split among the families of those who were killed by Bulger.
Federal prosecutors told the newspaper that the items belonging to Bulger and his girlfriend are in storage in Massachusetts and are being appraised.
Officials believe the highest-value items include a claddagh ring estimated to be worth $48,000 and Bulger's replica 1986 Stanley Cup championship ring valued at about $3,000.
The 84-year-old Bulger was sentenced Nov. 14 to life in prison. He was found guilty in August by a federal jury in 11 of the 19 killings he was accused of, along with dozens of other gangland crimes, including shakedowns and money laundering.
Bulger also owned a boxing mannequin topped with a hat that was apparently propped in the window of his apartment to make it look as though there was someone keeping lookout. Other items include binoculars, a telescope, camouflage clothing, nine fedoras, 27 pairs of sunglasses, ceramic poodle salt and pepper shakers, assorted porcelain cats and hundreds of books, many with Bulger's handwritten notes scrawled in the margins. There's also a McCain/Palin campaign button and a God Bless America poster.
"The reality is there are lots of people who would be willing to pay money for some or all of the contents of that apartment, and that money is going to victims and victims' families. So we want to do what we can to get as much money as we can for them," First Assistant US Attorney Jack Pirozzolo told the newspaper.
Authorities said they're trying to be sensitive to the victims in the case and have yet to decide whether it is appropriate to cash in on Bulger's notoriety by selling some of the other items, ranging from his blue and white dinnerware to his size 9.5 sneakers.
Two relatives of Bulger victims backed the effort to get as much money as possible.
"If they can sell anything he owned down to a ballpoint pen, then good luck to them," said Patricia Donahue, whose husband, Michael Donahue, was shot to death by Bulger in 1982 while giving a ride home to a man who was being targeted. "I'm sure the victims could use the money."
Jason Wojdylo, chief inspector of the asset forfeiture division of the U.S. Marshals Service, said the U.S. attorney's office will decide what to sell. After the court approves a sale, it usually takes up to 60 days to schedule an auction, he said.
Bulger fled Boston in 1994 after being tipped off by his former FBI handler that he was about to be indicted, and he remained a fugitive for more than 16 years until he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.