Oak Park, Forest Park cops nab Wrigleyville rape suspect

Man suspected in two earlier rapes caught after allegedly assaulting woman near Forest Park Blue Line station

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By BILL DWYER

A suspect sought by Chicago police in two recent sexual assaults in Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood was arrested New Year's Eve by Oak Park police following an alleged attempted rape in Forest Park. Paul Cruikshank, 24, of the 4000 block of Cullerton in Chicago, was arrested on a PACE bus at Harlem and the Eisenhower Expressway.

Forest Park police received a cell phone call reporting a "violent disturbance" just after 11 p.m. Dec. 31. The caller, who was unfamiliar with the area, worked with the police dispatcher to determine her location, and Forest Park police quickly located the victim. According to Forest Park police, the woman suffered several facial injuries during her struggle with her assailant. She managed, however, to eventually break free and call for help on her cell phone.

After obtaining a rough description of the assailant, Forest Park police broadcast that information on their radio band, which is shared by Oak Park. When Cruikshank showed up on Harlem near the Eisenhower El stop, police where already there, waiting, said Oak Park Deputy Chief Robert Scianna. Tactical officer Chris Pedicini and Detective Jim Sperandio of the Street Crimes Team were watching the area as a possible escape route by the Forest Park assault suspect. At the same time, at least eight Oak Park and Forest Park squads quickly converged on the bus stop.

When Cruikshank ran across Harlem Avenue and jumped on the bus, police then stopped the bus, boarded, and found Cruikshank "was hiding behind the driver," 
Cruikshank offered no resistance or comment.

"He submitted to arrest immediately," said Sperandio. "No fight, no discussion."

Responding police noted Cruikshank's similarity to the composite sketch released by the Chicago police of a man sought in relationship to two rapes in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. While subsequently interrogating Cruikshank, Forest Park police learned that he had traveled from the Wrigleyville area. Forest Park officers contacted Chicago police, who sent lead detectives investigating those rapes out to Forest Park.

Chicago police conducted line ups on Sunday, during which both rape victims identified Cruikshank as the individual who assaulted them. That development, along with other information that Forest Park and Chicago officers were able to gain from Cruikshank led him to make videotaped confessions, according to Chicago police. Cruikshank, who had no previous criminal record, has been charged by the Cook County State's attorney's office with a variety of felonies in relation to the two Chicago rapes, on Dec. 18 and 20, including Aggravated Sexual Assault, Home Invasion, Aggravated Kidnapping and Armed Robbery. He has been charged with Attempted Criminal Sexual Assault and Kidnapping in the Forest Park incident. He is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court Tuesday morning for a bond hearing.

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