By Megan Dooley
The Oak Park police are reaching out to the community for help in capturing an assailant they believe to be responsible for three recent attacks on women. The string of attacks all took place between March 30 and April 4.
In a press release dated April 6, police said that they'd increased patrol units in the area, which includes the area near Lake Street from Austin Boulevard to Oak Park Avenue, in response to the attacks.
All three incidents occurred close to midnight. In each attack, the victim was approached from behind and placed in a choke hold as the attacker demanded money.
The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, between 5-feet-10 and 6-feet tall, with a medium build. In all three attacks, he was reportedly wearing a light colored jacket and a black stocking hat.
In the first incident, which occurred just before midnight in the 200 block of Lake Street, the attacker made off with the victim's Blackberry cell phone and cash.
The second attack occurred after midnight on April 2. A victim was walking into the front door of her apartment building in the 400 block of North Austin Boulevard when she was accosted from behind. The victim kicked the attacker and screamed, prompting the suspect to flee on foot.
The third attack occurred in the 200 block of North Oak Park Avenue at or just before midnight on April 4. The victim was approached from behind, knocked to the ground and placed in a chokehold.
The attacker reportedly said, "All I want is your money." In this most recent attack, the suspect made off with the victim's purse.
None of the victims suffered serious injuries in the attacks, and the suspect didn't use a weapon, but police are warning residents to take necessary precautions and stay cognizant of their surroundings.
Asked if the police have any leads, Commander LaDon Reynolds said, "We're looking into different avenues in the investigation."
Reynolds said that the department has released a number of safety tips for people to follow, and he recommended that people keep a cellphone on them at all times.
"I think it's always good to travel in pairs when it's later in the evening," Reynolds said. "I think just in general it's a good idea."
Police are also asking anyone with information about the attacks, or anyone who witnesses suspicious activity, to call the department at 708-386-3800. Anonymous tips are also welcome at 708-434-1636.
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