Libertyville or “Liberty Town” is located in the city of Chicago, and is also the birthplace of Tom Justice, whose nickname means “Justice”.
But, ironically, neither the surname Justice nor the name of his homeland fit the man who gave up his dream of participating in the Olympics as a cyclist, to address the bank robbery using a bicycle.
Since his childhood, Tom has been obsessed with cycling, and he first developed his relationship with her at the age of 13, when he saw athletes riding their bikes around a local track.
From that moment on, Tom got into cycling and was talented enough to train with the U.S. Cycling Olympic Team after graduating from college.
But there was something missing, and during Tom’s six long years in college his passion for movies, especially Ben Stiller’s “Shock Reality” (1994), Tom was fascinated by Troy Dyer (played by Ethan). Hooks), as the Door was constantly changing. work, which eventually makes him deeply disappointed by society.
“I think, unfortunately, that watching the movie and especially this character over and over has crystallized my point of view,” says Tom.
Suddenly, it seemed to Tom that the dream of becoming an Olympian was difficult to achieve and required great effort and hard work, so he gave up the idea and returned to his hometown of Chicago.
The winds of life did not go as well as would have loved Tom, who was hungry for emotion and success.
Due to his lazy nature, he rejected the slow and steady approach to working towards the desired goal.
Instead, he went to another kind of film to give him some kind of emotion, and that’s how one of those films inspired him.
Tom was fascinated by the classic Heat Theft movie, and this fascination inspired him to make a bizarre transition from silver screen fantasy to criminal reality.
The first bank robbery
Tom made his first bank robbery on October 23, 1998, using his bicycle with the ability of Olympic riders, to make his quick escape after the robbery.
A year later, he robbed another bank and pursued it with another, and the robberies he always committed without carrying any weapons continued.
Fearing that detectives might track him down, Tom kept the money away in trash cans or coffee paper bags in the slums.
But living a life like being in a movie brings a lot of trouble and terrible consequences.
After robbing a number of banks, the thief should start to feel arrogant and possessed by a sense of intelligence and uniqueness, but then the FBI should also start pursuing him.
Of course, as Tom lives in denial and disconnected from reality, the FBI begins to link events between a series of unsolved bank robberies.
They even called him a “chorus boy,” referring to a gesture he made in every robbery, clasping his hands in front of his chest, (as church choir singers do) as bank cashiers filled his purse with dollars.
Tom’s world begins to crumble as he constantly thinks he has disappointed his family, especially without real ambitions in it.
Disappointment and feelings of inadequacy
The bank robbery gave Tom a temporary break from his frustration and his sense of inferiority.
“While everyone does their daily life normally, I had a secret that I was special because I robbed banks in my spare time, but that’s exactly what put me in front of the truth, which is that I did not have a real job and I did not “took place in my career.”
Tom did not think about the harm he was causing, the fear on the faces of the bank employees, or even the consequences of his crimes.
cocaine and drugs
Tom’s ecstasy from living a double life quickly fades, being replaced by a sense of disappointment and a sense of unintentionality. It was at this time that he went to a party and there he became acquainted with cocaine.
Just as the bank robbery lost its luster and sense of privilege to Tom, cocaine lost that effect soon after, and Tom quickly began to return the robbery money to spend on drugs.
“My idea that got me into this adventure in the first place now is, after all, and I’m just a horrible, savage bank robber for drugs, I was very selfish.”
In March 2002, in the 26th bank robbery, Tom’s fate was coming to an end.
He was spotted by police as he was riding his bicycle in a traffic jam.
They stopped him and asked to check his bag.
Because of his high skill in riding the bike, Tom quickly escaped from the police, who circulated his descriptions by radio and began to chase after him.
Somehow, Tom managed to slide through the checkpoints and police ambushes to surround and capture him, and while escaping, he noticed a river at the bottom of a cliff.
He threw his bike in one direction and went to the other, then rushed into the river and swam until he reached a dense forest in which he hid.
Then he waited, helicopters flew up, police sirens howled, and he could even hear the sound of sniffing dogs trying to sniff out his tracks.
Tom lay there for hours, in a state of panic and noise, but had time for reflection and self-reflection.
“I think I was beginning to realize that this is not a good thing, the police are following me and I started to wonder, why are they following me? Do they not realize that I did what I did in the flow of my soul. -Search? No , of course they can not. “
“It should never have happened, but it’s not just about soul searching once you start using drugs. It was a wake-up call, that moment when the police tried to shoot or arrest you … it was her. “The first thing I realized was that I was in a very bad situation and I did not know how to get out of it.”
After waiting for about six hours, it was quiet.
Tom carefully emerged from his hiding place and swam again. Though wet and naked, he was free, at least for the moment.
specially designed bicycle
Even though Tom’s bike is gone, the racing bike specially designed in bright orange is not an escape route that can be hidden.
Now his bike is in the possession of the police and Tom realizes it is only a matter of time until they knock on his door.
A few months later, Tom was traveling home from his parents’ house when he saw an unmarked police car through his rearview mirror.
Ignore it and keep driving. Then he saw a second car, then a third, and seemed to be following him.
Tom stopped the car and went out to face a wall of cops, with guns pointed at him.
Only when he was lying face down on the floor, listening to the crackling handcuffs and feeling them tight in his wrists, did he realize the difficulty of reality.
Tom was taken to a police station where he was questioned.
He admitted everything, but the hardest part was making a phone call to tell the parents that the rumors were true; He has just been arrested for a bank robbery.
“I felt ashamed, knowing that it was my parents who had to deal with people … They were the ones who had to deal with our neighbors and friends, with the fact that their son was a bank robber, therefore me. “I’m very ashamed and I still feel it today.”
Denim me burg
Tom was sentenced to 11 years in prison for robbing 26 banks in three US states. The total amount of money stolen over four years amounted to about 129 thousand dollars.
But Tom had a strange expectation of being transferred to a federal prison, and he said to himself, “It would be nice to finally be with people like me, like-minded people.”
But when he got there, he found reality contrary to his expectations.
Tom quickly discovers that he is not as unique as he thought – many bank robbers give their profits.
“Then I realized I was not special.”
Impact on the victim
Also after his arrest, Tom finally faced the detrimental effect of his behavior on others.
Reading the testimonies of the victims, he began to understand the bad effect of his actions and people were so shocked by his robberies. The bank merchants feared for their lives.
“I was really ashamed of it … I felt guilty, but I had never thought of their point of view before.”
From that moment on, Tom never stopped thinking about the impact of his actions. For him, stealing started as a way to make a fuss that few people could make, driven by the desire to feel smart, superior and exciting.
Then, when he started taking drugs, everything changed and he started falling.
A horrible ending to what seemed fun at first.
“I think I started robbing banks thinking it would be fun, and it ended up being something awful and awful. “That’s why I now understand that banks should not be robbed.”
After his release from prison in 2011, Tom reunited with his girlfriend Barry.
Tom currently works in the care sector and is credited with changing the course of his life in prison.
“I grew up in prison … It went well, my life changed for the better, so I’m very grateful for the way things turned out.”