Years ago when I was young and reckless I took a job working at a record store in Joliet called Third Ring Records. It paid little more than minimum wage, but I was pretty keen on the idea of working in a record store because I'd get to listen to good music all day long. It was from 1980-82 and a lot of great new music was coming out then.
I also got an employee discount, but it was pretty common for us to open LPs we wanted, record them onto cassette and re-seal them with our shrink wrapper. This was before CDs. We sold albums, cassettes and even 8-tracks.
It was also a head shop that sold paraphernalia.
Yeah, it was a while ago.
I worked for a guy named Ray Scoville who owned a small chain of record stores spread from Aurora to Matteson, il. Third Ring Records (a deliberate reference to Tolkein) was his flagship store on Jefferson Ave. on Joliet's west side. I liked most of the people I ended up working with, but I always thought Ray was kind of a strange cat. He was married to a woman who was probably 15 years his senior, which in itself wasn't too weird, but he was rumored to be having an affair with at least one of his employees. I didn't pay much mind, because it didn't directly affect me. I was just happy to be working there and stayed clear of any potential drama.
Probably the strangest thing that ever happened while working there was when I was robbed at gunpoint one morning, shortly after opening. It was a Sunday morning and I was working the front counter register while Ray was doing paperwork in the back.
There were no customers in the store when an older guy, probably in his 50s, walked in and approached the counter. I asked him if I could help him, and he pulled a pistol out of his jacket pocket and pointed it at me. I took a short step back and raised my hands. He told me he didn't want to hurt me. He just wanted me to empty the register of all the paper money and hand it to him. I did as instructed (we had just opened so there was only $50 in the till) and he bolted out the door and around the corner. I immediately pressed the silent alarm and called Ray up front. The police showed up half an hour later and took my statement of the incident. Because I was an artist I was actually able to do a pencil drawing of the guy's face, and I brought it into the detective's office in Joliet when I came in to look through their mug shots.
But as far as I know, nothing ever came of the incident.
All in all it was a pretty cool gig, but after about a year and a half of working there I decided to leave and go back to school. I had been out of High School for a couple of years, taking time off to buy a car and enjoy a non-academic lifestyle. I was planning on taking a week off, using a paid vacation the employees received after being there for a year, then resigning.
Well, I was refused the paid vacation. I argued with Ray about it and he simply refused, so I quit. I reported him to the bureau of licensed employers and ended up taking him to court over just a few hundred dollars.
I remember feeling a little intimidated at the time. I was barely 20 and I had to go into a downtown office on Michigan ave. and present my case to some state official. Ray was there and he brought a lawyer with him.
Ray didn't say much, but his lawyer tried to make me out to be a liar. I stood my ground though, and Ray had to cut a check on the spot. I was pissed about having to fight for what was mine, but I was glad to be done with him.
Cut to a couple of years later. I was home from college for the weekend, and my mom showed me a news article in the local Joliet Herald News.
One of my former co-workers, a girl named Colleen, was found brutally murdered. She was shot several times, wrapped in newspaper and left in her car in a parking lot.
The person suspected of the murder was Ray Scoville.
"Didn't you work for this guy?" my mom asked.
I was friendly with Colleen, and also her dad, who would frequently visit the store. He was a nice guy and he reminded me a little of the actor Robert Loggia.
I cannot imagine how devastated he must have been.
Since I was living away at school I didn't follow the trial closely, but Ray and an accomplice friend (whom I also knew) were both charged for the crime.
Ray of 1st degree murder, his friend of complicity.
Well, Ray skipped bail and he's been on the run ever since. He was convicted in absentia and has been on the FBIs most wanted list for the past 25 years or so.
The entire case was even featured on a segment of America's Most Wanted.
I never saw the episode.
I'm still reminded of it sometimes. Oddly enough, when I recall my experience of working there I don't think much about the incident, because it all happened after I had left.
I don't think for a minute that I was ever in any danger, but it still gives me a bit of a chill when I think of what he did and the fact that he's still out there.