My mother's name is withheld from the story – but this well there are things you wish you were able to make up. This is a short story where you will see where I interplay with the events of the film which featured Luke Perry (1996) based upon the crime that took place in 1990-1992 when I was a teenager. My five year memoir, An Eye In Shadows (ISBN: 978-1682-73108-6,) references what happened to Jill Erickson this is the other aspect of what took place.
How my four books I got from my mother for Christmas: Cujo, The Smoke Ring, The Integral Trees, and I, Robot came from this used bookstore the bank robbers owned. The article talking about the filming was done by Bob Greene on July 19, 1995, the story goes "They robbed banks." The following piece is based upon True Events that The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune covered for a good period of 1990-1992; then People Magazine ran a piece. This unfolded about a year before events of The Cabbie Homicide. The featured cover was WLS' Channel Seven's report (ABC now owned by Walt Disney Company.)
For further reading about the case go look up A Court That Shaped America: Chicago's Federal District Court from Abe Lincoln to Abbie Hoffman (ISBN: 978-0810119819.)
Bonnie 'N Clyde: 60172
Story by Nickolaus A. Pacione
Word Count: (2,612 Words)
This would had put me at 15, 1992, and the strange notions when I looked at what was on the news – speaking of my boyhood home. The used bookstore where four of my books came from – I am sure few of my classmates would gave me a strange look revealing this. I didn't believe it when I heard it. I am getting ahead of myself again with this – though chronicled in An Eye In Shadows the historical accuracy is important with this narrative.
I wish I was in touch with my friends who still lived in the area or wish I was in more regular contact with my extended family who remained in the boyhood home. I was speaking to a few there now and they thought it was interesting someone who came from the old area is published – but this; I don't know what to make of it. Though the grocery store my family used to go to in town is no longer there.
I wouldn't even now whereabouts was that used bookstore would be about where this young couple who paid with large amounts of cash not saying where they came got this from. When one looked in the news – Channel 7 WLS broke the details of a bank robbery in Schaumburg, Illinois.
I was going, "Mom where did you get those books from? How did this couple get the money for the bookstore?"
"You were watching the news – yeah I know it would eventually get out there."
I thought,oh shit, just what I didn't expect – the boyhood area produced a Bonnie and Clyde.
"I have to ask about Enimen's track 1990's Bonnie and Clyde from his book, Angry Blonde, was this about them?"
;"It just seems my boyhood home of Roselle, Illinois, was drawn into a world of controversy. I am sure some of my friends in the area now would be looking at me strangely thinking about this in my adult life – but examining this; thinking, "There was no fucking way!"
"There was something on Discovery Channel about this in the 2000s; about 2005 they did the story about it – thinking about this and some would been saying am I crazy when writing about this. Not really when you seen what happened my junior year as Lombard soon became scandal scarred.
I am thinking, son of a bitch – wait a minute; those books I got for Christmas that had me reading came from this store – you mean the bank robber recommended these?
I wish I still had these now as they got lost in the move back to Illinois as I turned 23 – those early collection books I had; talking about them had a story behind them. But when you wonder about this – examining this and asking, "What is wrong with people?"
"The ghoulish mental image in my mind that did had eerie similarity to how Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down in the South. The last hours of one of the bank robbers – I am sure the police who were going to open the door were screaming.
"Get out of the fucking car!"
"Gun bullets firing – as this wasn't quite what happened a few years later. The armed to the teeth bank robber in North Hollywood was years away. They opened the door and what came out was her bloodied carcass of lifeless meat – with a hole exiting the back of her head along with brain matter on the back seat.
"Jesus Christ! What did she do?"
"Evidence clean up is going to have field day with this!"
"Shit! I don't know of someone would read her The Last Rites."
"Well that's what the news refuses to show you the graphic display that was her last hours and aftermath. This was the era of Bill – what the hell do you expect; well when you were in the 1990s it's the jaded nature of my generation as teenagers. Illinois became more jaded than most – as I am sure Fred Savage would had been watching the news learning about what was going on back home. Luke Perry was in a movie based upon this – the locale they used was from Hanover Park, Illinois. One of his first serious roles – playing a bank robber; and he in truth was the age of the male bank robber who did the case.
"The Chicago Tribune chronicled the slaying of the woman – that would be in 1991; but my mother omitted this detail to me about the case. So there was so much I had to learn and research on my own about this.
"If I was to talk with them I would had screamed, "Instead of robbing a bank, why don't you get a job?"
"I am sure my best friend would want to do a weird local tourism thing with Last Caress by Misfits blasting in his CD player as loud as possible. He had that morbid curiosity in the era, looking for where this woman decorated the van with her brains. The movie that came out about this was called Normal Life; which had me about 19 turning 20 when it came out in the theater but came to cable when I was legal drinking age."
"I was looking at this called my then friend, "Hey have you seen this movie on HBO – I've recognized a good number of this movie's locale, it's our area man. That's not too far from where my step-grandparents lived on Churchill Drive. This has Luke Perry in the film thinking, dude when was this done?"
"The banks they robbed were Hanover Park, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Bartlett, and the surrounding areas – according to the Discovery Channel piece they had a tape of Bonnie and Clyde playing. When the movie was shown would have me at 20 – but the events about 14-15 years of age.
The really fucked up thing about the story – with those bank robbers got me reading Larry Niven and Stephen King's Cujo as I owned the hardcover edition at the time. The Larry Niven books were The Smoke Ring and Integral Trees from the 1980s; I was watching scenes from Normal Life an going, "What? Are you kidding me – Mom, get a look at this!"
I was looking at this and saying, "holy fuck!"
There are things you wish you made up but the movie that was done about this had me thinking some about this; I know a horror host friend would be reading about this saying. Are you serious?
I am sure O. Henry can't make this up himself as I had read some his work in middle school.
What would he make of something as this?
As some of my friends left the area shortly after; well it's something that I could relate as the books – now lost were part of history. Those books I got for Christmas in 1991 along with …And Justice For All and The Black Album by Metallica – I am sure if my old high school heard more about this one they'd be going, "Really? Those books in your collection came from the bank robbers who stole from those banks. The subjects of the movie Normal Life – are you giving me a line of bullshit?"
I wish I was making that up; in all truth because this was too fucking weird even for me. Roselle had their own Bonnie and Clyde; they bought a damned house with the money they stole.
Yeah – they really did that as Discovery Channel chronicled this.
Discovery Channel revealed details that were omitted from the movie – but when you seen both of them you saw a unique picture of what went on. What the news didn't show you – as Normal Life is a true story. I am trying to get a mental picture of the residence. Sometime before their demise as they had Bonnie and Clyde in their VCR, as this was the 1990s – VCRs were still in everyone's houses.
I am not giving you a line of bullshit as one can do a Google of "Bank Robbery in Schaumburg, Illinois" and what one will find is those events chronicled.
Luke Perry played an idealistic young cop who became dirty using a police radio as part of the bank robberies – as this was the Documentary revealed. I wonder if the screenwriter used the source material from the Chicago Tribune article; being he did it from the articles and police reports on the case. If he was to revisit this I would had him write my mother and step-father into the book store, "We're Christmas shopping for our son."
When you realize it was none other than Jeffery Erickson who recommended The Smoke Ring to my mother; I am sure you're going, "What? You can't be serious!"
I am trying to find a photo of what he looked like in the era; because Luke's appearance to Jeffery was uncanny. The man who directed this film – he was behind Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. So when you think about that – he did have an intimate knowledge of all the Chicagoland area. So when my best friend and I would cruise around Hanover Park, would go see a movie when Tradewinds was still there. The question when it comes to a young couple and desperation to live in luxury will they go as far as break the law?
So what I am doing is proving what the movie chronicled the documentary and then what I remember of where my mother falls into the story – the book store. I am going, "shit! Was this in the movie when he did this?"
"This was the climate of my science fiction story – when one looks into the history of the story, the very real history of this. Normal Life's events would had taken place two years before Lake Fossil – it was set in the year Passenger unfolded; as one would see this and be a little unnerved knowing this. I am sure a few who seen this movie and read the events in the news – if you were in the 1990s and a teenager in the era of Bill. This was your life that it unfolded in.
"Jesus! What you revealed – cuts to the heart."
I had gone back to the area when I was nearly 30 years old with my then roommates; I didn't mention anything to the one as he was an outsider to this area. The Bonnie and Clyde of Roselle were Jeff and Jill Erickson.
My realizations in research going back about the era; and one would have to ask what exactly did they have in terms of their fire arms when it came to the siege of Schaumburg's Finest. I am sure her final minute photo will make a mint on for true crime buffs.
"You're sick for making a joke like that!"
It's true. People are doing a Google after seeing Normal Life.
This was my boyhood area people are talking about – they know about Roselle because of Normal Life. I was reading about the article that took place which unfolded with Eric'ksons final minutes as it turned into a shootout in the city.
"Harry Belluomini at the time would be about 58, and Roy Frakes, 30, were casualties upon arrival at Northwestern Memorial Hospital – according to the Chicago Tribune article on July 21, 1992, that would have my step-aunt visiting from Florida. Frakes was a Deputy U.S. Marshall the older casual was a prison guard.
I can imagine the Judge's look on his face.
"What the fucking hell happened out here?"
That took the conclusion of my sophomore year at Glenbard East High School – I was going, "What; welcome to Chicago! I really don't know what my classmates would make of this – that's if they were news junkies at the time."
"You won't take me alive you motherfucking pig!" is something I can imagine Erickson screaming as he grabbed the gun away from the corrections officer and the U.S. Marshall. I wonder how many guards were there when he started bolting – and when the director of Henry: A Portrait of a Serial Killer was looking at this. He knew the material was ripe.
;"But how familiar Luke Perry was with the story because he needed to be convincing for the role? How familiar with this was he – if he was able to do this with accuracy. Its quite uncanny how this though as there were a few demise stories in courthouses where in 1992 it was the summer of courthouse shootings. He had a clever disguise that didn't leave any fingerprints and covered up for his weight – Erickson had the name "The Bearded Bandit."
"I documented details about Jill's demise though from the article I read about that one but this is really the first time I went looking for the article: em3 Die in Courthouse Shooting – A Bank Robber kills two guards them himself.
My speculation he was asking for "suicide by cop."
Eric Harrison chronicled the events during the shootings but how much of this could been a possible book?
This was $180,000 that we're talking about of how much they both made off with combined as they were stopped on a traffic violation. What can one do if they had that large amount of cash in the car as that's what they robbed total in earnings as they did this for two years. That's enough to fund a low budget indie film. They had lived in Palatine, Illinois, and they kept stealing from the same fucking banks too.
What did their house look like if they paid large amounts of cash? If one was to really examine their reality was fictitious and they were keeping up a façade of normality; but with the truth it can't be something one really can fathom. The director is from Chicago who did Normal Life; of course this was something he'd be looking into – and playing off our area's history.
I wonder if Mick Garris decided to do something for this very real story – if the director of Normal Life decides to revisit the case with my elements. My own input is my mother's connection to the story – my own connection is the bookstore my mother went to.
"The question comes to mind was trying to figure out the fucking name of this book store that these two opened funding it with ill-gotten cash earnings – I was never told the name of the place. With the tools of a police radio, beard and hand held police-issued firearm. Welcome to the distorted Suburbs where darkness is born in the real world; desperation becomes something a normal man would end up doing because his wife was manipulative. Where I later learned the bookstore was in my boyhood home of Roselle, Illinois, bank robbers along with my step-family had me reading.
I started writing when the guy who wrote Ringu started – 1990; so this would be in the first into the second year of my writing period this played out. When you wonder if something is too weird to make up – something such as this for a prime example of Jeff and Jill Erickson; someone who faced bankruptcy to go into circumstances to fatally break the law.
The director – with this; like when I first wrote An Eye In Shadows he will have information that he didn't have before. My mother was one of Jeff Erickson's customers at his used bookstore.
I don't know how many people really wrote about the incident aside from the Chicago Tribune and Normal Life director who is a local. They went out the way Bonnie and Clyde or Dillinger went out – bullet in bullet out; eating lead for breakfast.