Two new late night attacks on Oak Park women

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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

Click here to see the flyer from Oak Park police.

Two more Oak Park women were victimized Tuesday night in what is becoming a string of violent robberies targeting women in the village. The Oak Park police believe the suspect in one of the attacks might be the same perpetrator of three robberies that occurred between March 30 and April 4.

The first of the April 19 attacks occurred just before 11 p.m. on the 900 block of Lyman. Police reports stated that an offender entered the backyard of a residence through a gate and approached the victim, striking her from behind with a "clenched fist" before demanding her purse. The incident was listed as an attempted robbery, and it is unclear if the suspect successfully made off with the victim's purse.

The second incident occurred about an hour later, just before midnight. A woman was walking in her backyard on the 200 block of S. Harvey Ave. when she was grabbed around the neck by an unknown offender. The description of the attacker in the second instance matches the description of the suspect in three prior attacks.

Police said that it's possible the S. Harvey attack was connected to three previous robberies in Oak Park. In their statement, the police did not mention the Lyman incident. According to David Powers, communications director for the village of Oak Park, the police do not believe the suspect in the Lyman incident is the same man responsible for the other four attacks. "It didn't fit the pattern," Powers said of the attack.

"While [we] cannot say for sure that the assailant is the same in all four incidents, the similarities say he could be," the statement read.

The police also noted the Tuesday night robbery on S. Harvey was in some ways different from the other attacks. "Unlike previous incidents ... the offender said nothing and neighbors reported seeing a man enter a light-colored, newer-model Ford SUV and driving westbound on Pleasant Street," read the press release.

The South Harvey attack, like the first three, occurred close to midnight. The victim was walking through her backyard when she was accosted by an offender described as a black male of unknown age, with a medium build, 5-feet, 9-inches, and a short hair cut. The offender "grabbed her around the neck from behind and a struggle ensued," according to the police report. The suspect then made off with a toiletry bag belonging to the victim. Estimated loss is $40.

Three similar incidents were reported in Oak Park between March 30 and April 4. The offender was described as a black male in his 20s, between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet tall, with a medium build.

  Oak Park police seek robber in fourth similar incident

Reader Comments

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Comment Policy

Donna Peel  

Posted: May 11th, 2011 5:00 PM

@ Dan Haley: Thank you for the explanation. Although I'm the only one who commented, this came up in quite a few conversations I had with other women. It's a relief to know that her name was published with her consent. -Donna

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 26th, 2011 9:20 AM

LOL- Just read that the Guardian Angels are in OP escorting women at night from the Green Line! Where is the Wed. Journal? If something happens in OPRF, I expect to read all about it here FIRST, not some city source.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 5:27 PM

We are finally stating to reach the same truth together. That is - Oak Park historically has been an easy mark. These things are uncommon in Berwyn, Forest Park and Maywood, yes Maywood. I know people who won't go near the CVS parking lot. que lastima!

Linda from south Oak Park from Oak Park   

Posted: April 22nd, 2011 2:26 PM

It's the same sad story everytime, either the police are too busy having to send most of their cars and officers to the high school before, during, or after school, or the officers are tied up at meeetings in the village hall or elsewhere. The rest of the time they are playing catch up. Without a change at the top of the organization and I don't mean just the chief, things will never change, same round peg being forced through square hole will never work. Wake up village board!!

Kelly  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 9:40 PM

@Natalie: I thought those maps made the crime rate in OP look pretty bad. It's even worse than I thought if they understate the crimes.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 9:37 PM

"The Truth" must be a big fan of the "Death Wish" movies. I've been a victim of a violent crime & wanted the coward punished for the brutal assualt. But, certainly not to the extreme degree that "The Truth" seeks to impose. Let the justice system deal with the creep and allow us to maintain our dignity & humanity. The vigilante poses the same threat as the criminal. Both are dangerous. This may open me up for the "bleeding heart" rant. Better to heed Christ's teachings than a violent fantasy.

Natalie from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 8:08 PM

@Kelly I know all about the crime reports at www.oak-park.us. My problem is that they aren't complete. Unless they were dated and thus plotted incorrectly, two of these five muggings are not even included on the maps at all.

TheTruth  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 7:45 PM

Simple solution: catch him, beat him to the edge of death and let him go back to his community to tell the story. Let's also kick the kids from Chicago out of OPRF High. You can't hope to reason with criminals. They only respond to one thing: the face of unintiminable violence.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 12:09 PM

Dear Ms. Peel, From the time the Journal first interviewed Lisa Dodge she has been very direct in wanting to be quoted by name. She has since been interviewed on a couple of TV stations. Her position has been that she does not want to let the person who assaulted her also silence her.

Donna Peel from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 11:37 AM

Good job putting in the full name of the ONE person who can identify this attacker. Let's show some journalistic responsibility. And why aren't the police protecting that name?

Oak Park Rez  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 10:04 AM

@Hank Marquardt from Oak Park - Everyone's "pet issues" seem to be the same thing, wanting to live in a safe community. What's wrong with that?

Teresa Powell  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 9:48 AM

Each area of Oak Park has a resident beat officer (RBO) who lives here and meets regularly with interested residents and businesses on safety issues. Police officers patrol 24/7, too. And funding has allowed cameras on rail lines in Oak Park, too.

Oakparkbob from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 7:25 AM

Continuation of prior screed-If OP police lived here, they'd patrol with the intent to prevent crime to their loved ones & property rather than just respond to crime after it occurred and file reports. Commander Tanksley should be replaced. All he does is take classes, get certificates and attend seminars - none of which reduces crime!

Oakparkbob from Oak Park  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 7:11 AM

The only way this guy is going to get caught is if he branches out into Forest Park. FP police actually patrol and catch crooks. Our police just clock in, drive around for 8 hours, write a ticket or two, file some reports and clock out. They then return to their homes in other, less costly suburbs. They couldn't care less what happens in OP because they don't live here. They just work here. If they made the police live in OP like they used to, do you think crime would be as high as it is? Probab

guns?  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 6:51 AM

As for the gun comments; I love how pro gun folks act as if things are so cut and dry. Let me ask you this, what happens when someone cuts you off or you get in an argument? At what point do you decide shoot them? If you really feel strong enough about it, just carry a gun. If you think it'll save your life, it should be worth the fine you'll receive if you do end up shooting someone (assuming they're on your property).

Media  

Posted: April 21st, 2011 6:46 AM

Remember that the media controls what we know. Please understand that these types of crimes happen much more often than most people think. This guy has made "everyday, Oak Park attacks" something for the media to do. Even when they don't report it, it's happening and it's happening frequently.

OPguy  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:50 PM

As long as the drug, gang and poverty problems in areas like the Austin and Maywood areas persist, things like this are going to continue. It's one thing to have police bust a criminal every now and then, but that's just like treating a symptom to a much larger social problem.

Gail Moran from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:00 PM

What a coward he is - always preying on women. I hope he runs into one of us that has taken a self-defense class!

Oakparkbob  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 10:35 PM

A woman is supposed to call the police for an escort from her garage to her house? I assume the cops are aware of the night parking ban. I suggest the cops patrol the alleys at night rather than the empty main streets.

sbgrl9  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 10:33 PM

This is getting a little ridiculous. This guy needs to be caught. Let's beef up the security at the Green Line stations (if that's where people think this moron is coming from) and get me a mace. This guy needs to be put behind bars.

Kelly  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 7:57 PM

@Natalie: The OP police website actually has maps that show the type of crime and the location of the crime for specific time periods. The FBI also has a website that gives OP crime statistics broken down by violent and property crimes. Although it may be true that crime rates are going down in OP, crime rates in OP are still very high by many measures.

Natalie from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 7:41 PM

You know, we keep hearing about crime in OP going down in recent years, but I want to know how that breaks down in TYPES of crime. Yeah, it sucks getting your bike stolen off a rack, or having graffiti sprayed in your alley, or hearing your favorite restaurant got its windows broken, but those aren't the crimes that I'm afraid of. And the ones I'm afraid of, I'm afraid, are just the kind that are on the rise.

Idiot Savant  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 5:53 PM

I agree with many of the posters that what these unusual events require is ridiculous overreaction. If only everyone carried a hand gun and every backyard and bedroom were constantly surveilled by the government, well, then, that would be paradise. (Note to the unwary: what crime statistics prove is that crime is lower in OP than it has been in years; don't listen to the fear-mongers and other assorted rabble.)

paul from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 5:48 PM

I'm not sure how cameras would have helped these women, since most (all?) were attacked in or near their own yards. And crime in OP in recent years has been going down, not up. These four incidents seem to be the work of one bad person.

Adele from OP  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 5:12 PM

I would accept reduced privacy while in public in exchange for effective cameras to document and subsequently prosecute criminals. Being mugged and raped and beaten is violation of my privacy too- I'll take cameras ;P

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 4:26 PM

Last two attacks were in backyards. Seems to me most crimes in OP do not happen in well lit areas or busy areas where cameras usually wind up. I do not like the idea of high lights in OP either. They are as bad as Blue Lights. I live on OP Ave. and find it impossible to report every stranger. There is a regular flow to the Blue Line, even at 2am. Are these workers going home,the homeless, people with late night jobs or thieves. Most of the late nighters are minorities. Can't stop everyone.

Dan  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 4:04 PM

Sarge. I hear you. I don' want blue light specials and I do think the police in Oak Park are wonderful. However, descrete cameras throughout the village would help with catching criminals. I have 2 young daughters and the crime here is very scary. Whether you feel safe or not in OP, the crime statistics show it is not really safe here.

Sarge311  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 3:41 PM

I do not want cameras in Oak Park. To do show would make us just like Chicago which we are not. Whenever I see the bluelight cameras in Chicago, the first thing I think of is high crime area and I would never want to live there. Cameras in Oak Park would admit defeat in fighting crime. The police are doing the best job that they can. It is up to us as Oak Parker's to keep an eye out for suspicious people and report it. We don't need guns either. This isn't the wild west. Let's all pitch in!

Dan  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 3:13 PM

What is so wrong with cameras in public places. You don't have a right to privacy in public. London has cameras everywhere and they catch people left and right committing crimes. Anyone who has ever lived in London would demand that the cameras stay. Help up all and put in cameras...

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 2:37 PM

Vigilanties solve nothing. Camera are a massive infringement on our rights. The violent crimes of late in OP are a police issue, but I do think it is time to do a in-depth profile on who commits crimes in Oak Park. The back and forth of blaming all on west Chicago being the sole problem is getting us no where.

Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 2:29 PM

the O.P. police have done and continue to do a great job. 15 yrs. ago Odell mugged me behind Dominick's. Someone came to my rescue and police did their job. I was supoenaed 4 times to Maybrook. 1st time: Odell didn't show up. 2nd time: his Mom didn't show (the kid was a juvenile), 3rd time: the other witness wasn't there and case continued again. 4th time: only the arresting officers and I were there. Case dismissed. If you don't want criminals on the street, tell it to the judge.

op resident  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 2:27 PM

Can't Oak Park install brighter street lights? When I first moved here from Chicago, I could not believe how dark the streets are at night. I would feel safer walking around at night, if the streets weren't so dimly lit. Not that that will prevent crime, but it might be a bit of a deterrent.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:46 PM

It's interesting how everyone's pet issue has crept in here ... panhandling, police effectiveness and visibility, cameras, concealed carry. If I were to guess it's a drug user, from the west side, who sees easy targets here in Oak Park. All the crimes are within 2 block of a green line station. Should cross check the composite with ipod L thieves. It's not a panhandler working midnights ... really, it's not.

OP Mom  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:37 PM

I think Paddy Boy is on to something. I don't get why we can't crack this nut as it relates to the library. You can enter a Chicago library without wondering if someone is going to scare your child.

Oak Park Rez  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:30 PM

I've been accosted in the Whole Foods parking lot and the Old Navy parking lot. I won't let my 12 yo daughter go in to the OP Library by herself because she's been harassed returning a book while I was waiting in the car. Most homeless are mentally ill and are in need of treatment. One thing I do know is the people who've approached us are quite intimidating.

Paddy Boy  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:24 PM

OK - I'll try to say it again - it's not about guns, race, religion, culture, etc. - it's all starts with our collective tolerance for aggressive panhandling and general unacceptable public behavior. Go check out the scene in front of CVS, Walgreen's, Whole Foods, that's where this starts.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:11 PM

Guns are not a solution.

Conservative with a conscience from Oak Park   

Posted: April 20th, 2011 1:09 PM

Just realize that just as you would blast one of those losers, one of those losers would be just as happy to blast you.

ih8loserthugs from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:57 PM

you blast one of these losers when they try to rob or rape you ... they and others would certainly think twice. I wouldn't hesitate that's for sure.

Alan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:38 PM

It is a sad state of affairs when a person can't walk in their own back yard without getting mugged. But I think those who would fault the OP police need to rethink their position. Police forces throughout the country are under many restrictions and have their hands tied and probably aren't allowed to do all that we might think they can do.They are bound by laws, local ordinances and court rulings. The countries that have less crime also tend to have a stronger police state. Freedom or Fascism.

ih8idiots  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:27 PM

And... the only thing dumber than suggesting guns everywhere is suggesting cameras everywhere. Well, ok, maybe not dumber, but damn close.

ih8idiots  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:26 PM

What con w/a con said. Anyone dumb enough to recommend carrying a gun in an ambush scenario should have their FOID card voided and all their guns confiscated.

Mel Rose from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:06 PM

WHEN is OAK PARK going to add street cameras to our village....it would be a huge deterrent and also maybe help catch some of these loser thugs. The technology is there, they are all over Chicago and even in place in River Forest. Oak Park needs to get this technology in place pronto.

Conservative with a conscience from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 12:02 PM

A concealed weapon does a lot of good when you're attacked from behind. Now the nitwit has a gun. Not that Tanksley's suggestion is much better... a whistle.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:43 AM

I've noticed an increased police presence in our neighborhood. Figure this coward has a drug habit to feed. He's not going to stop. Citizens need to be aware of any suspicious activity and alert OPPD.

lucy from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:26 AM

I know someone who was asked for money by this guy in the alley near euclid and washington (behind Fenwick). Maybe he lives around there? She called the police but they didn't find him...I want to know why they couldn't find this guy? He is obviously living right in the area!

oprf from oak park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:22 AM

Agree, Second Amendment Dem.

Oakparkbob  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:22 AM

Three words some to mind: Lousy Police Force! The see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil method of patroling doesn't seem to work.

Second Amendment Dem  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:16 AM

Two words come to mind: Concealed Carry...

Sarge311  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:10 AM

We need to form a citizen's patrol to combat this scumbag. He's going to keep on doing this until he's caught. It's a game to him now. He is feeding off of the publicity and I fear the attacks are going to be more frequent and possibly more violent. Maybe concerned citizen's can drive around in shifts and if we see anyone suspicious, call the cops. Just a suggestion folks.

Patricia O'Shea  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 11:03 AM

In her own backyard?!

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