Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My former boss the fugitive

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.



Mattj.darling said...

My mom also worked with him. Her name was Laura if you knew her. She was just telling me how she worked with him... It's chilling to know that he is still alive and out there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you had met my husband and some of his friends. They knew the creep. He was at our wedding, August of 1979. Then the next thing I knew the man with the red pony tail was accused of murder.

soulquest7 said...

I worked at Third Ring in downtown Aurora in 1975 for a year just after graduating from high school. The store only lasted a year and I went to work at a health food store as I had left the "head shop" mentality and moved on to yoga, spirituality, and holistic health. Then Ray opened a store around the corner from the health food store, and one of his employees said he wanted to "steal me" away from the store. No way, as I loved it there,learning about health food, and was getting ready to go to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. It was many years later that I saw the episode on America's Most Wanted and shuddered. He had a gentle demeaner but I never really got to know him since he hardly ever came to the Aurora store. The only thing I remember about him was when he showed me his car, like I was suppose to be impressed that he had a Mercedes Benz. I think the fight he had with the employee was over the Aurora store. P.S. I noticed your picture above has to do with Yellow Submarine, a favorite film of mine... did you draw it?

Edison Girard said...

I did draw the caricature, yes.
I actually ended up doing some illustration work for Ray and Third Ring stores way back then (1981-82), creating the "Dr. Video" character that ended up on a few store signs and even a prominent billboard in Joliet. One of my first art jobs.

soulquest7 said...

I also read online that Schoville is a suspect in the deaths of TWO other girlfriends, one of whose death was attributed to suicide (but using his gun). It seems like he was a walking psycho, or perhaps just a sociopath who thought because of his wealth and power that he could get away with anything. The murder in this case occured the year after you left; I'm impressed you took him to court. I would have just said "f*ck it." I also realized that the Americas Most Wanted episode wasn't done until 1990, so I might not have known about it until then. Were you into the whole new wave scene in the early 80s? Did you ever work with that short blonde guy who was the Jackson Browne fanatic? I'm pretty sure he was from the Joliet store, though I worked with him a few times. I like the Yellow Submarine art-- the Boob was my favorite character!

Edison Girard said...

The guy you describe doesn't ring a bell but it's been over 30 years.
.. New Wave music was certainly a part of it all, especially in that it was part of 'new releases'..a lot of which never sold big. ..I did get into the Alice Cooper LP that dropped in 1980, "Flush The Fashion", was in heavy rotation for a while.

soulquest7 said...

I was into Alice Cooper in the early 70s: the KILLER and SCHOOL'S OUT albums in particular, after that it was all progrock. The next time I worked in a record store was last 1970s when the new wave/punk thing was happening, but by then I was into yoga and new age. I did imbibe in a little Buzzcocks however.

Phil Coddington said...

Oh yeah. My friend worked with those people and I remember when the murder incident happened. There was also Dr. Video videoland who I think a guy named Brett owned and Colleen also worked at a tobacco store on Jefferson. Strange. I'm sure you'd know him.

Joe Michelli said...

It still haunts me that Scoville got away with the murder of Colleen and I have little doubt that he also murdered Jill Clark. I knew her well and she would not have committed suicide out of the blue. I also knew Colleen though not very well (she was going out with a good friend of mine at the time of her murder). I so hope that someday, somewhere, someone will figure out who and where he is and he will pay. He is a total psycho and sociopath and though I only knew him on a "nodding" basis and I will never forget his goofy eyes and ugly face. I would love to run into him...