Oak Park police release new images of suspect in choke attacks

Suspect filmed trying to use debit card of Oak Park victim


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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

Oak Park police Monday afternoon released images of the man believed to be responsible for an attack and robbery that occurred on the 300 block of North Oak Park Avenue on April 28. Police have said the same suspect is possibly responsible for four similar attacks on lone women in Oak Park since March 30.

However, for the first time, police also suggested Monday that more than one man, or perhaps a pair of men working in tandem, could be responsible for the unnerving series of attacks. That possibility was raised since the photo image did not closely match a witness description after the second attack.

The photo images were taken from a bank surveillance camera on the West Side of Chicago, where the suspect attempted to use an ATM card taken from the robbery victim to withdraw money.

The robbery occurred just before 8 p.m., when the victim was approached from behind and placed in a chokehold in an alley behind First United Methodist Church. According to police reports of the incident, the suspect demanded the victim hand over her debit card, and then fled the scene.

The images show a black man with facial hair, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and dark pants. The latest robbery victim described her attacker as a black male between 20 and 30 years old, 5-feet, 10-inches, 160 pounds, with short hair and possible facial stubble. His clothing was described as a black zip-up jacket, a dark shirt and dark jeans.

The public safety message states that experts are working to enhance the fuzzy digital images to offer a clearer picture of the suspect. Anyone who recognizes the man is asked to call 708-386-3800, or anonymously at 708-434-1636.

According to the notice, police have not ruled out the possibility that all five incidents, which shared similar circumstances, might be the work of separate individuals, or could have been carried out by a pair of suspects working together. "These images...do not closely match the computer-generated sketch created with the help of the second victim, the only one of the five women to get a close look at her assailant, further suggesting a pair of robbers," read the public safety alert.

But Oak Park Commander LaDon Reynolds said that it's still likely that all five crimes were committed by the same man. "They all have a very similar M.O.," he said.

While they work to investigate the series of robberies, police are recommending that residents, especially females, refrain from being out alone after dark.

"We're asking everybody to remain vigilant," said Reynolds, adding that police escorts are available upon request.

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G. Feret from Oak Park  

Posted: May 5th, 2011 12:55 PM

yes i agree there's at least 50/50 chance the ATM photo's not the mugger but his accomplice, which goes towards explaining why the police sketch doesn't look like him as many've pointed out here. nevertheless the accomplice's just as culpable and identifying that car remains relevant IMO

j. from oak park from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 6:33 PM

I don't think this guy is helping with the actual mugging but I think he got someone else to go to the ATM to try the card. Because I mean come on.......if your face was flashed across the news would you go to the ATM, especially knowing that every ATM has a built in camera. I think it was just a diversion, just a way to throw everybody off and start second guessing themselves.

j.oak park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 3:34 PM

@lolzz, thank you for the link. it looked so familiar, but i just could not find a picture on the web. Probably not the bad guys car, but it would kind of be funny if it ended up being his. Funnier still if he gets caught and it is found out in CC lockup that he drives a forester... they will tear him apart...sweet justice.


Posted: May 4th, 2011 3:20 PM



Posted: May 4th, 2011 3:15 PM

definitely a subaru wagon. how oak park. LOLZZZ. He will blend right in!

j.oak park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 3:03 PM

@lolzz, are you sure it is a subaru? That was my first thought, also. I can't seem to find a picture, however with a grill like the one in the picture on a subaru. It looks like a jeep grill, but too few slots... it has been driving me crazy trying to figure it out. oh, and the guy in the picture looks nothing like the police sketch.

Jake from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 2:31 PM

@mv113 I was simply telling people how to find last year's Special Bulletin. My outlining what to type was so that it would come up on the first line in their Google search. Nevertheless, the OPPD spent countless hours distributing this "Special Bulletin" door-to-door in Oak Park. They even placed them in people's mailboxes. Also, the bulletin was in various organization's monthly newsletters. It just seems to me that the OPPD could find more important "CRIME" to pursue. I'm just sayin...

G. Feret from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 12:06 PM

subaru wagon, eh? that's a start don't everybody stick w/ gender tunnelvision, sure he may've stuck w/ the pretty ladies so far, but some night they're no gals walking alone and he's gotta get $$$ he may try his hands at mugging an unfortunate lad instead


Posted: May 4th, 2011 9:20 AM

to G. Feret..... I just have this wierd feeling this guy didnt drive his Subaru wagon to the store to grab some cash. LOL. He's obviously robbing these women to upgrade to a Volvo. He just wants to fit in around here!!!

mv113 from Oak Park  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 8:25 AM

Jake, if you search for "curb painters" should it be a surprise that it"s the first search result.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 2:06 AM

You're right Oak Parker, my mistake... they're still useless! And the lack of cameras in the bank proves my point even more.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 10:57 PM

The cameras were NOT at a bank, they were at a convenience store and the private ATM was inside.

John DO from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 10:38 PM

they took down my comment boohoo you cant deal with criticism OPPD...well allow me to retort YOU NEED TO STOP LOOKING FOR KIDS RIDING THEIR BIKES ON THE SIDE WALK AND DO YOUR JOBS THAT THE PEOPLE PAY YOU FOR..no more starbucks either fellows come on now

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 9:51 PM

Bit unfair Epic. The bulletin is a year old.

epic lulz  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 9:01 PM

Oh, good grief, the OPPD is doing a fantastic job of getting out information.

Jake from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 8:48 PM

To read the "Special Bulletin" that the OPPD created to warn village residents, turn to Google. Go to Google and type in "Oak Park Police Special Bulletin Curb Painters." It'll pop up on the top line of your search. I can't help but wonder how a department can be so out of touch with the real crime problems in OP. Maybe we need a change of leadership within the OPPD. This bulletin got more PR than all 5 or 6 of these attacks combined. Again, SHAME ON THE OPPD. Someone should be fired.

OP Guy  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 8:44 PM

What is the point of video cameras if this is the quality of image captured? Seriously, banks are in no shortage of money... just goes to show how much they actually care about their customer. That guy could be ANY dark skinned man with a beard. BANK. how about some decent cameras actually in the ATM so we can actually see the face.

Jake from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 8:29 PM

Last summer the OPPD spent countless hours circulating flyers over kids painting addresses on curbs. I've seen less manpower and community outreach devoted to these attacks than to kids wanting to earn money painting addresses on curbs. Last summer the OPPD had every popular OP website feature their "Special Bulletin" and even distributed it in mailboxes. Which, by the way is illegal to do. Police can't put flyers in your mailbox. The manpower spent on "solicitors" was shameful.

Oak Parker  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 1:41 PM

Whats the worse crime he can be charged with? I suppose he isnt armed. Not sure what the difference between strong armed robbery and just robbery? His arms could technically be a weapon?

Meet me at Starbucks  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 1:02 PM

It appears that the Oak Park police should spend more time investigating crimes, than they do at Starbucks. Just see how many police vehicles are parked outside of the Starbucks early in the morning. Join me for my early morning run and you will see Oak Park's finest sipping their lattes, um I mean working.

stu from oak park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 12:54 PM

Kinda looks like Mr. T.

G. Feret, O.P. from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:35 AM

looks as if he did us the enormous favor of leaving car headlamps on, all the better for the surveillance camera to capture his image after dark and yes i'll assume the car's his. think of it this way: it's easier to identify a person when associated with a certain make/model yr & color auto. somebody come forward pinpointing exactly what that vehicle is (besides its front tire low air pressure that is), we'll watch for not just a person but also a specific car driving in the area

Linda (southeast side resident) from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:30 AM

Ray, give me a break, the chief is blowing it again. The sketch and the photos are two different people. Are you saying the police can't develop leads on either one? Ray, you must be real important to speak directly to the chief, most of us regular citizens only get to speak with an underling. Maybe Forest Park or River Forest can help, they seem to catch most of our criminals anyway.

Violet Aura  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 11:06 AM

Is it just me or does this dude look NOTHING like the police sketch? So are we looking at two dudes preying on unsuspecting women or what? And Judith: what in blazes was that supposed to mean? Are you offering up your nubile form as bait?

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 10:25 AM

@ Editor from Any City: I confirmed with the police chief that every officer has been provided police bulletins to distribute to any interested party. The bulletin includes photos of the suspect and details about the incidents. The police are taking all steps necessary to catch this criminal. Residents wishing to get more information or request an escort should contact the police department at 386.3800. Emergencies or any suspicious activity should be directed to 911.


Posted: May 3rd, 2011 10:24 AM

Does this feller have a mustache?

Carrol Smith from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 9:42 AM

judith from Oak Park made a sexist remark. A robber wants money, not a "slim woman."

Teresa Powell  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 8:18 AM

At last night's ceremonial board meeting David Pope read a statement from the police department asking all who see anything suspicious to call 911, whether it has to do with these incidents or others.

Editor from Any City  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 11:11 PM

Asked a police officer what's the total of attacks as of Thursday's. Officer said, "I've been off for the last couple day's, and don't know". Asked if the officer had a flier of suspect. Officer could not find one in the officers vehicle. This must be an isolated incident because if the police want to put odds in their favor of finding this bad guy, everyone should know who to be looking for, and citizens in the area should be given a flier to enhance calls to 911.

judith from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 10:11 PM

OP Police need to set up a sting. Are there any slim women in the OP Police Dept?

Luke S.  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 10:06 PM

A Krav Maga club for Oak Park residents is in order.

Luke Miller from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 9:59 PM

If this was on one of those CSI type shows, we'd be able to "enhance the image" with one click and get a crystal clear picture of his face.

epic lulz  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 9:31 PM

Self defense training would certainly be useful is these situations. Escaping from someone who has grabbed you from behind around the neck is not that difficult when you know how.

OP Woman from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 8:30 PM

It would be nice if the OP police would offer information sessions about how to behave if faced with this situation. Perhaps some self defense techniques also.

Hey from OP  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 7:56 PM

The banks should use some TARP money to update their 1960s crappy cameras.

muriel schnierow from River Forest  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 7:44 PM

sorry folks i misspelled River Forest

muriel schnierow from Rivee Forest  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 7:42 PM

is there any way to find out how many of these criminals have been paroled ,obviously too early?? Proper sentencing and proper release are imperative.


Posted: May 2nd, 2011 6:09 PM

Sure hope they catch this guy soon. By the way, if that man is actually 5'10", there's no way he's only 160 lbs. More like 180 - 185 lbs., easy.


Posted: May 2nd, 2011 5:37 PM


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