A Will County man caused a stir last month when he allegedly posed as a deputy U.S. marshal and flashed a handgun at moviegoers angry he was yapping on his cellphone in a River North theater.
Michael D. Bonin, 47, of Beecher, is charged in U.S. District Court in Chicago with impersonating a federal agent.
On Dec. 4, patrons at the AMC River East 21 theater at 322 E. Illinois asked him to be quiet while he talked on his phone during a film, according to a federal complaint filed against him.
Bonin yelled he was a marshal and showed the audience a .45-caliber handgun and a badge, authorities said. Someone called 911 and a Chicago Police officer spoke to Bonin outside the theater.
Bonin told the officer he was a deputy U.S. marshal and was allowed to return to the movie, the complaint said. But when he re-entered the theater, Bonin allegedly shouted, “Look, I am a U.S. marshal,” and police escorted him outside again.
Bonin wasn’t arrested at the time, but the complaint against him alleges he’s been involved in a series of incidents impersonating federal agents.
Two years ago — on Jan. 15, 2013 — he allegedly ran a red light in south suburban Markham and was stopped by the police. He told the officer he was a deputy marshal and opened his trench coat to display a gun, the complaint said.
The officer noticed Bonin’s car was equipped with emergency lights. He was ticketed for traffic violations but not for impersonation, the complaint said.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Walenda learned about the incident and visited Bonin’s home along with a Will County deputy sheriff and a Markham police officer who served him with the traffic tickets, the complaint said.
Walenda warned Bonin that impersonating a deputy U.S. marshal is illegal, and Bonin wound up surrendering two fake marshal’s badges and a Cook County sheriff’s deputy patch, the complaint said. Bonin was not arrested at that time, either.
Bonin, who is unemployed, is also suspected of incidents in which he impersonated federal agents in suburban Dixmoor, Crete and Mokena over the past two years, according to the federal complaint against him.
Federal investigators also are looking into a YouTube video in which a man poses in a black balaclava mask and a black law enforcement uniform with a patch that says “Agent” in yellow letters. Investigators suspect the man is Bonin, a law enforcement source said.
The man offers to help the public find missing people. He’s identified only by the first name Michael and the nickname “Cajun” in the video posted in 2013.
“It’s a heart-wrenching ordeal,” he says in a southern accent. “I am here to help and assist you to bring your loved ones home alive … I have brought closure to many lives.”
A bond hearing for Bonin is scheduled on Monday.