Person in custody after Oak Park students followed, grabbed

With suspect in custody, OPRF will restore open lunch periods Thursday

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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

A man police arrested Wednesday morning for alleged abduction attempts of Oak Park students just minutes apart may also have been involved in an incident Tuesday afternoon, when another student told police she was followed home from Oak Park and River Forest High School, according to a statement from Oak Park police.

The incidents prompted District 200 officials to keep students on campus during two lunch periods Wednesday for safety precautions. Late Wednesday afternoon, though, school officials announced that with a suspect in custody that Thursday lunch periods were return to normal.

Wednesday morning, around 8:15 a.m., a 16-year-old OPRF High School student was walking in the 100 block of South Taylor Avenue when a man approached her, put his arm around her neck and started pulling her. The girl screamed and bit his finger before pulling away, police said. A passing motorist stopped and the suspect released his hold and walked away.

A 13-year-old was walking in the 700 block of Home Avenue about 25 minutes later on her way to Brooks Middle School when a man came up behind her and placed his hand over her mouth. She screamed and ran toward a passing motorist and the man fled.

Descriptions provided by the victims of the man and his vehicle allowed police to inform neighboring law enforcement agencies, according to the statement. The man was stopped around 9 a.m. on Madison Street in River Forest after he was observed driving erratically by an off-duty Maywood officer. He is being held by Oak Park police as a person of interest pending further investigation by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, the statement said.

District 200 staff found out around 12:30 p.m. about these two incidents and a third that occurred Tuesday afternoon, said D200 spokeswoman Karin Sullivan. In that incident, an OPRF High School student was walking home from a club meeting at the school when she realized she was being followed. Sullivan said her parent reported the follower was a man who walked from Lake Street down Ridgeland Avenue. The girl went to Julian Middle School, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave., for safety, Sullivan said. A staff member there saw she was being followed as she approached the door, and the staff member called police.

When school officials found out that information, Principal Nathaniel Rouse announced that students would not be allowed off campus for lunch for the next two periods Wednesday afternoon.

Sullivan and District 97 spokesman Chris Jasculca both said an increased police presence and increased patrols of safe walking routes were scheduled around dismissal Wednesday.

The statement said police believe there is no further threat to students. Calls to the department were not returned.

Reader Comments

39 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Michael Belker  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 12:41 PM

I agree with Brad. The motorists that stopped looked outside themselves and their self-interest. They could have kept driving and shook their heads, but they didn't. That's what this community should be about.

The Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 12:05 PM

So proud of the girls for being brave and composed in a time of dire danger and peril. Also bravo the passing motorists who assisted. This cretin should be locked away forever.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 11:53 AM

Hopefully the judge will see fit to not allow bail. Keep this "alledged" cretin behind bars & away from our kids. Waterboarding is appropriate here, as is prison justice. These types aren't human, let's not treat them as such.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 11:51 AM

Seems poor form to upstage the local paper on a story update, but the man has been charged ... full details on the op97 site ... I'm sure the news will be forthcoming from other sources as well.

RLM from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 10:31 AM

To be honest; the person in custody sounds like he had the same MO as the person who assaulted the girl in Austin. If the police suspect that he's a suspect in that, they won't release the description until SHE has identified him.

Lori M  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 9:59 AM

Any of you people ever check out the registered sex offender websites? You can pull up a map of Oak Park and see where they all live - it's very frightening - and these are only those who are required to register.

Very Concerned Parent  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 9:51 AM

The suspect who succeeded in raping the 13 year old in Austin on her way to school in the morning was described by Chicago police. If the OP person of interest becomes a suspect, OP police should release his description.

Former Oak Parker  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 9:31 AM

A lack of a meaningful description of a person of interest is so typical for OP.... political correctness has been going on there for decades. Progressive = don't offend. If this happened to my daughter I'd be screaming from the rooftops.

Kathy from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 9:00 AM

Is suspect in custody also a suspect in Austin assault of a 13yo girl ~a mile away? OP/RF residents might want to follow this story: abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8907401. Description included, police sketch to follow.

OakParker20 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 9:00 AM

Per the comment below, when I say regulars, I'm talking about the one guy who patrols the WF parking lot & scarily badgers people for money, another one who roams downtown and gets in your face/swears when you don't give him money, etc.

OakParker20 from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 8:57 AM

I would also like a description or, even better, a photo, of the suspect. I live right over there, and a few "regulars" in the area are crazy enough to do something like this. We need to know who to look out for. Odds are he'll be out of jail soon.

Stranger Danger from Oak Park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 8:46 AM

Wasn't there something going on real recently about a sex offender moving into Oak Park, but not registering? Is this the same guy?

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 8:38 AM

If the person in custody is charged (I'd imagine they're being arraigned as I type this) all the detail will come out. Seems he should have bruising or a bite injury on the hand from the report and there are plenty of witnesses. Yes, if he were still at large I agree we should have some actionable descriptive information, at this point and failing charges, it's just something for us to gossip about. Since we're all about guessing here ... I'll hypothesize that there is a psych issue invol

OPRFDad  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 8:07 AM

And yes, these girls were assaulted. Another annoying trait of the OPPD and the WJ - recharacterizing crime so OP seems less violent. That's not a home invasion, it was an aggressive salesman with a gun and zip ties.

OPRFDad  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 8:06 AM

It might be nice to know some information about the suspect so you can protect yourself when he posts bond. There is such a thing as release on bond in this country.

OPRF Parent  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 6:47 AM

Oh and kudos to the OPRF staff -- they talked to the students, explained the situation and alerted parents through emails and phone calls. A job well done!

OPRF Parent  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 6:46 AM

I am proud of the students involved in these situations. They did exactly what we tell them to do, scream, run, go for help, tell authorities. And thanks to the Maywood police department for the heads up to the OP police department.

Sidetracked  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 6:43 AM

@Oakparkbob, having lived in River Forest, you must be thinking of some other police force.

Oakparkbob  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 6:03 AM

Thanks, OP Dude. If it was the RF cops making the arrest - it figures.OP cops too busy just riding around & filling out crime reports. No time to actually proactively prevent crime or catch an offender!

OP Dude from Oak park  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 5:25 AM

@Oakparkbob, I heard on WBBM 780 it was the River Forest police who caught the guy.

So not funny  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 1:27 AM

can someone please remind me why I moved to Oak Park with my family? Also, can someone please tell me why my comment was deleted?

So not funny!  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 1:02 AM

Downspout theft last week, attempted abductions this week... I wonder what we're in store for next week?

yabba  

Posted: December 6th, 2012 12:58 AM

Pardon for derailing the thread from the regular racist commentators crying about not knowing the race of a person of interest who is in custody, but I want to know why the WJ is down-playing the incident in the headline. These girls were ATTACKED!

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 11:08 PM

I commend D97 for a top notch well executed emergency communication plan.

Carlotta  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 10:39 PM

A description of the suspect? We don't need one. This is Oak Park, and someone might be offended.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 10:25 PM

No need to know demographics if the person is in custody. Kevin Fox, charged w/ the murder of his daughter Riley Fox. He didnt do it. Jerry something in Waukegan for murder of his child & friend.Didnt do it. Steve Linscott in OP 4 murder.Didnt do it.

Mike S from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 9:33 PM

This is a very upsetting story. We don't need to turn it into a race issue. The OP police do not need to alert the public of the demographics of a suspect when they have the man in custody.

Haptic  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 9:23 PM

Gee, OPRF Dad, if that's true then 80% of the time you don't need a description now do you? And OakParkbob, I've seen our force make arrests numerous times, including one of a white burglary suspect when the genius fled into Austin.

Oakparkbob  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 8:55 PM

What police department apprehended the offender and made the arrest? I hope it was OP since they rarely make arrests. It's usually one of the surrounding suburbs who catch the fleeing criminal. Kudos to the off duty Maywood cop for good work!

OPRFDad  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 8:36 PM

If the race is omitted in the WJ, I just assume it is a black male between 25-45 of average or slightly above average height. That's the right answer about 80% of the time.

Michael from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 8:19 PM

What kind of reporter does not provide a description to help? How could it be racist the offender is what they are. Are Oak Parkers so small minded this would affect their opinion of the entire group or does the paper not give people enough credit?

Violet Aura  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 7:41 PM

In defense of WJ, I went to The Patch and they said that the police have not yet released a description of the suspect.However, I also read tonight that a man in Downers Grove tried to do the same thing to another girl of middle school age!

Kathy from Oak Park   

Posted: December 5th, 2012 4:33 PM

Concerned Parent: Thanks for news of Austin assault! Seems it took place only ~1.3 mi from OPRF/Julian. Austin is our neighbor, A police alert for OP schools & families, just as we'd get if this happened in RF, might be a good idea in future.

Very Concerned Parent  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 4:13 PM

description will be released in the future. The WJ published a picture of the convicted sex offender who lives on Home Ave., which I showed to me kid. I think the WJ will publish details when they aravailable as a service to the parents and children.

Very Concerned Parent  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 4:08 PM

My child walks to Brooks along this route every day. District 97 sent two emails and two voice messages this afternoon to all parents to inform them. There was no description of the criminal, so I think the police have not released it. I hope a

Steve from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 3:09 PM

Diana, ask Dan Haley why he doesn't print descriptions of the suspect(s). His answer is always interesting. Oh, and by the way, don't be too adamant about demanding ANY descriptions of ANY suspects at large. You will be called a racist.

muriel schnierow from Oak Park  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 2:57 PM

some of the worst offenders get the shortest time and get paroled.i have copies of the cases. We need to keep predators off the streets.Blago gets 14 yerars and amurderous maniac in Manhattan gets 8 years and comes out to commitanother crime?

Diana  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 2:44 PM

ISN'T THERE A DESCRIPTION OF THESE SUSPECTS?????? HOW ABOUT TELLING US THE INFO: approx age, race, height, clothes, etc. GIve more info!!!

ConcernedParent  

Posted: December 5th, 2012 2:30 PM

Could there be a connection to the 13yo girl who was assaulted near schools in Austin 2 days ago? I hope the "suspect of interest" is one in the same. It's a scary world.

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