Daily archives: July 23rd, 2008

Tinley Park Loses Personal Info for Thousands

Thousands of people have reportedly been put at risk by the Village of Tinley Park.  According to the SouthTown Star:

The Social Security, bank account and driver’s license numbers of anyone who has given his or her personal information to the Village of Tinley Park in the last 10 to 15 years may have been on a back-up computer tape the village lost in June.

About 19,000 residents should be getting letters in the mail about the incident, village manager Scott Niehaus said. That’s how many residents likely are affected, Niehaus said, adding that the risk that anyone could access the information on the tape is slim. About 1,400 current, former and retired village employees also should be getting a notice, Niehaus said. By law, vendors don’t have to be notified, he said.

No one suspects foul play.  According to village officials in Tinley Park, this appears to be an accident.

As our ability to store vast amounts of information on increasingly small media, risk for this type of “accident” only increases.  Do you wear a flash drive around your neck?  Personally, I don’t favor storage devices as fashion statements, but I’ve seen enough people wearing them.  How easy they are to misplace, sometimes.

Too bad for just about everyone in Tinley.

John Ray’s Box of Human Bones

I really don’t get this guy at all.

Park Forest resident John Ray still has his box of human bones.

Recall Ray’s tale of how he came by the remains:

Ray said he bought the grisly collection, albeit accidentally, at an estate auction in Shipshewana, Ind. There he bought a tattered, 150-year-old book titled “The History of the American Indian.” Packaged with the book was a cardboard box layered in duct tape.

“The dealer said, ‘Wait till you get home to open it up,’ ” Ray said of the box. “He said, ‘You’ll really be pleased with it. It’s like a little gift from Santa Claus.’ ”

But Ray said he didn’t wait until he got home. When he got to his car, Ray split the box open with a pocketknife. To his shock, the book was packaged with the bones. He marched back to the dealer, who refused to take back the “gift.” The dealer claimed to have bought the remains at a separate estate auction earlier in the year.

According to the Southtown Star:

Ray, who claims he’s kept a box of human bones in his Park Forest residence since 1982, said he plans to take a few bones to Indiana’s LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department in the next few weeks.

The next few weeks?  Does this man really care that he has the remains of a human being in a box in his home?  Or is it about him?

Ray said he hoped to start the process this week by digitally photographing all the bones and sending the photographs as well as their lengths and proportions to the LaGrange County Sheriff Department.

Afterward, Ray said he would deliver the bones to the department in person.

“Those bones being buried wherever they belong would be a great ending to this story – whatever direction it heads,” Ray said.

I don’t get this at all.  How do you walk around your home for 26 years with a box containing the remains of a human being?  If someone sold you a box of human bones, wouldn’t you call the police — immediately?  Was this person the victim of a homicide?

My disquietude with this grisly tale only heightened the other day during a chance encounter with John Ray.  As I was walking my dog around the neighborhood, Ray was outside.

He approached me and asked, “You been reading about me?”

All I could think of was that box of bones nearby somewhere inside his residence.

“I’m wondering who keeps a box of bones in their house for 26 years?” I said.

“You want to talk about it?” he asked.

“John, I’m walking my dog.”

“Oh, okay.”

No, I did not want to “talk about it.”

A credible source in Park Forest reports that Ray is writing a “screen play” about the bones.

Sounds like it’s all about him.  In 26 years, the Park Forest police have no record of a call for service about these remains.  Only recently was Ray concerned enough to come forward.

Ray recently told the Southtown Star, “Whoever this kid is, he deserves better.”

No kidding.