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FBI official who led Boston marathon bombing probe, to retire

Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston field office, stands at the site of the explosion near the finish line of t
Richard DesLauriers, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston field office, stands at the site of the explosion near the finish line of t

By Daniel Lovering

BOSTON (Reuters) - The head of the FBI's Boston office, who has supervised high-profile investigations including the probe into April's Boston Marathon bombings, will retire next month after more than 26 years with the agency, the bureau said on Tuesday.

Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers, originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, has helmed investigations such as the 2010 operation code-named Ghost Stories, in which 10 people were rounded up as suspected Russian spies.

He became best known across the United States following the April 15 marathon bombing as the agent who stepped forward to ask the public for help identifying the two men suspected of placing the twin pressure-cooker bombs at the marathon finish line.

"Somebody out there knows these individuals," DesLauriers said at a press conference hours before the suspects were identified as ethnic Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan died that night in a gun battle with police and Dzhokhar was apprehended a day later after a massive manhunt.

It was not the first time DesLauriers successfully appealed to the public for help. Accused Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was arrested with his girlfriend Catherine Greig in a seaside California apartment around two years ago after DesLauriers launched a media campaign focused on Greig that led to a tip.

Bulger's trial on charges including 19 murder counts opens Wednesday.

DesLauriers leaves some loose ends for his successor, though, most notably the investigation into the March 1990 heist of $500 million worth of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which stands as the costliest art theft in U.S. history and remains unsolved.

The FBI has not yet announced a replacement.

DesLauriers, who joined the FBI in 1987 and will retire on July 13, undertook assignments in New York and Washington, including a stint as deputy assistant director of the FBI's counterintelligence division, before becoming special agent in charge of the Boston Division in July 2010.

He is joining the private sector, taking a position as vice president of corporate security at Penske Corp, the largest shareholder of Penske Automotive Group Inc.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Phil Berlowitz)

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