Gunmen try to hijack vehicles in northeast Oak Park

Carjacking target pleads: 'Don't drive off with my daughter'

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Oak Park police report that two attempted carjackings took place in northeast Oak Park – one on North Lombard Avenue and the other on North Austin Boulevard – about 30 minutes apart from one another on the evening of Nov. 28.

One of the victims, an Oak Park woman, reported that two men, one of them armed with a gun, tried to rob her of her vehicle after parking in the 700 block of North Lombard Avenue at about 6:20 p.m.

The woman, who discussed the incident under the condition of anonymity over concerns for her safety, said she had returned home with her 3-year-old daughter, parked the car on the street and got out to retrieve a backpack from the front seat.

Her daughter was still buckled up in a car seat in the back, watching the movie Trolls on her mom's cell phone, the woman said.

"Don't say a word! Shut up! Shut up!" a man screamed, as he held the gun to the temple of the woman's head.

The woman said that in the moment, she thought maybe it was her husband playing a trick on her, but she quickly realized what was happening.

"Give me the keys! Give me the keys! Don't say a word and give me the keys!" the man demanded.

The woman then noticed another, younger male, approximately 16 years old, standing on the walkway leading up to her front door.

"It was a surreal moment," she said. "I was very calm and said, 'Please, my daughter is inside. Please let me get my daughter out.'"

The man with the gun decided it was too much trouble, telling his younger partner, "It's not worth it. Screw it. We're out of here. This is not worth it."

The gunman put the weapon in his pants pocket, and the two fled on foot toward Augusta Street, she said.

"I was just in shock," the woman said. "I got back into the car and locked the door."

Her daughter was completely unaware of what had taken place, the woman said.

She called the Oak Park Police Department, and officers arrived in less than five minutes, the woman said.

"I couldn't believe it happened," she said. "I worried they were going to take the car with my 3-year-old. I thought, 'What's going to happen to my daughter?'"

According to the woman, police informed her that they had received two or three other phone calls within a short period of time reporting other attempted carjackings had taken place in the area, but only one other attempted carjacking could immediately be confirmed.

Oak Park police could not immediately be reached for comment on either of the incidents.

The woman said police drove her to a location about three blocks away from her home, near the intersection of Augusta Street and Austin Boulevard. They had two men in custody, but the woman said she was uncertain whether they were the two who attempted to steal her vehicle.

The woman described them both as black. The gunman was skinny and tall and wore baggy jeans and exposed boxer shorts, which may have been red. His accomplice, who stood on the walkway to her home, was described as wearing a hoodie and "he had this crazy mask" with a "weird design" that only covered his mouth, she said.

The woman speculated that she might have been targeted because of two large trees in front of her house and poor lighting in the area.

"We need light posts," she said. "If there had been a light post in front of my house, maybe they wouldn't have done it."

She said the incident "happened so fast" that she didn't believe it was happening until it was all over.

The woman said she already has a security system at her home but is planning to install better lighting and video monitoring.

She and her husband also plan to petition the village to install a light post on the street near her home.

"You can't see anything after 4:30 p.m.," she said. "My husband and I are going to the village to get the paperwork to get signatures for that."

She added that she is uncertain whether the two individuals the police had in custody were charged with the crime or any of the other alleged carjacking attempts in the area that evening.

In a separate incident, three young men, two approximately between the ages of 17 and 19, attempted to carjack a Chicago man at gunpoint in the 1200 block of North Austin Boulevard at 5:50 p.m., about 30 minutes prior to the attempted carjacking on Lombard.

According to a summary report from the Oak Park Police Department, the victim was in the rear of North Austin, when the three men approached the vehicle.  

One of the carjackers walked up to the driver's side window, pointed a black revolver and ordered the victim to give him the car, while trying to open the vehicle's door. The victim then drove off.

All three of the men were black. One had a thin build, wore tan pants and stood between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8. The second offender was about 6 feet tall, had a thin build and wore a black hoodie with the hood up. No description was given for the third offender.


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Jenna Brown Russell  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 4:01 PM

OPPD was clear and unequivocal in their response to the question regarding the time elapsed between this call to dispatch and officer on the scene (though not officer radioing his arrival) was about 90 seconds. This particular nit should now be a non-issue. The carjacking and 7-11 robbery the same day of the meeting are bigger issues. Austin residents are fleeing their blocks (20k residents since 2000 have evacuated) due to crime. The last time people fled Austin, Oak Park worked hard to keep its base. In that case, it was fighting racist fears. How do we combat the fear of armed assault? We can't, we have to combat the crimes, and the criminals. Not understand the criminals, empathize with the criminals and try to placate the criminals. We need Oak Park to be a bad choice for the criminal.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 1:16 PM

Bill Dwyer, you , myself and Brian Slowiak have been the main posters. Your comment, "Their comments just drag down the level of dialogue here, as others have noted" includes one person and that is Jim Frenkel. You are incorrectly using the word others. You want to use a word that defines one has noted the dialoque

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 12:42 PM

Bill Dwyer, I certainly don't want to drag down your intelligence so please be patient with others who are not gifted like you are. You are wrong that the victim's call was a lower priority. You are wrong to think that there should be plenty enough Officer's driving around searching for two individuals. You are wrong if you do not understand the importance of having a professional arrive at the scene of a victim to get full details because they are updates on descriptions that will increase the chances of the Police Officer's to apprehend the two offenders. You may consider taking a basic Police science class to get the fundamentals of how good Police work is done, because I really now think you have a very limited knowledge of how it works and would rather disagree. The article is well written by Timothy Inklebarger and that has never been brought up to question

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 10:34 AM

Again, and I apologize to the poor WJ editor who has to referee this, but people like Tommy and Brian really, really need to take the time to READ other people's post. No where did I say "there was no need to reply to her call." What I said was, it was lower priority than dealing with two detained criminal suspects. You really have to be willfully confused to make the points McCoy and Slovak make here. Their comments just drag down the level of dialogue here, as others have noted.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 9:54 AM

Bill Dwyer, I may not be understanding you correctly. It seems you are saying once she was out of danger there was no need to reply to her call and the Officer's can stay on the street searching for the two individuals. First, a description to dispatch helps although a better description can be obtained from a field investigation. An Officer is trained to get a better description then a dispatcher so it would be important for an Officer to arrive to the scene as safely as possible

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 8:20 AM

See Brian, this is where you really need to try to actually understand what was written. I wrote "she was no longer in any danger." NOT that the two perps were no longer a danger to anyone." There's a pretty big difference, whether you get it or not.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: December 9th, 2017 1:41 AM

Only if you determine that two guys returning to the scene of the murder to see if the victim is dead, will not be of any danger to anyone, because during the time frame that they left, they became Quaker, then you are correct.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 9:59 PM

Jim, you have two people here who struggle to comprehend a narrative that clearly states that the two offenders ran off and that when the woman called police, she was no longer in any danger, upset as she might have been, and so, I presume, police determined that her incident was less of a priority than the active investigation on the street of two actual carjacking suspects.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 7:55 PM

Brian Slowiak, Forest Park Officer's who rode as a team responded to the auto parts crime. If I recall correctly, they were the one's who were able to find the two offenders. They both now hold top positions in Forest Park, and one of the Officer's solved another terrible incident on Kenilworth and Washington.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 6:33 PM

@ Jim: The heck is that a timely arrival of the police to a crime scene is very important. The victim mentioned the response to the scene was less than 5 minutes. The thought of the time frame being anything close to 5 minutes is unacceptable. The official response was stated as than 90 seconds, which is good but I would have like to have seen the computer printout. The officer on the scene is responsible for the safety of the victim. Here in Oak Park we had two people murder someone over a sale of stolen auto items, and after the murder the two returned to the scene within in minutes to get caught. The responding officer is charged with securing the crime scene, marking the pathway of area they were last seen and for a search clearing up misstatements made in communications. We have an officer who after an armed robbery walked the path of escape only to come up with a firearm. That's a lot of heck, important heck, and it deserves the quickest response time available . As to WHY an offense happens, there is no Armed Robbery because the guy needed money to buy drugs, There is just Armed Robbery. WHAT the residents and the Village can do remains to be seen.I have stated this before, crime is possibly unspoken of tax for living in Oak Park.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 2:40 PM

Why the heck are the comments being dominated by 2 guys arguing about what constitutes "fast enough" police response--an after the fact detail? Shouldn't the real focus be on WHY this is happening and WHAT residents and the Village can do to prevent these horrible crimes from happening in the first place? That seems to be the real issue here, like it or not.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 12:04 PM

Brian Slowiak, The arrival time was very quick according to something that can not be shown with records or phone recordings of the initial call and the Officer calling in 23 if that is the 10 code Oak Park uses. It's nice to know there was a quick response regardless that the victim said it was less then 5 minutes. It just seems like a lot of time when you are waiting for help to arrive and that is understandable

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: December 8th, 2017 11:50 AM

Mine was the second question asked at the Friday morning meeting. "According to the computer time clock, what was the time the message from the victim was received, what time was the message dispatched and what time did the officer arrive on the scene" It was explained to met that arrival time varies because of the officers actions in calling in his arrival. The computer record was not on hand, however we were told it was less than 90 seconds.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: December 5th, 2017 10:52 AM

A Bill Bwyer: I am glad public officials are holding open meetings about the event.Which is what I wanted . I hope the dispatch ticket is read from, time person called, time officer was assigned and time of arrival. I would not go to FOIA or Cads. I, like you, will seek information from an off record positive source." They DID respond" Yes, but in what time frame. I question what and how as to the time frame, not officers names.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 9:12 PM

I don't WANT to reduce my consumption of wine, Tommy. But thanks for caring.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 5:50 PM

Bill Dwyer, from the way you talk about the article you certainly don't give any indication that the article was good. Of course you wouldn't be Bill Dwyer, unless you felt you needed to give others a demeaning effort just like you mentioned that a 30 year Police Officer, Brian Slowiak, knows a few things about Police work. Once again we your efforts to demean someone. If I recall, someone mentioned you may want to reduce your consumption of alcohol. It can bring the worst out of a lot of people, including some one like yourself.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 3:26 PM

Tommy, I've worked with Tim and KNOW he's a good journalist. You? You need to work on your reading comprehension.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 11:56 AM

Bill Dwyer, the article was very good by Tim Inklebarger. If you don't want to assume that Tim, is capable of gathering the information correctly then you can discuss that back and forth until you feel you are right because from most of your replies to people, you are always trying to prove you are right even over the smallest detail. By what you are saying the article is possibly wrong and the woman's time frame could be incorrect. I notice you do this with a lot of people who want to comment on their opinion and then take the opposite side. Unfortunately you won't find satisfaction in disagreeing with people

Nick Polido  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 8:13 AM

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: December 1st, 2017 5:53 AM

Kinda touchy, huh Tommy. I'll make it easier for YOU. I get your point. Mine is that we have no hard numbers regarding elapsed time, yet people are making assumptions. Less than 5 minutes can mean anything under 5 minutes. Perhaps the village would care to clarify and we can stop sniping at each other. Or, if Brian is so concerned, he can FOIA the CAD records.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 10:33 PM

Bill Dwyer, lets make it easier for you. It took longer than 4 minutes to respond. There are areas of Oak Park that require more coverage than other's. It is understandable that there can been several units responding to one incident from all parts of Oak Park. You say you loath knee jerk criticism, etc.. That just is you because there is a procedure set and I did not comment on this story until enough information was released because I know several units can be tied up on one call. When you have a second call you start to release units to respond. It is not knee jerk criticism. It is how it works and it is unfortunate that your town had to join with westcom because when seconds count they need to figure out what town you are calling from and a very descriptive location because they handle several towns. It is not like the older day's when your brother was a Police Officer and Police Officers would work dispatch when they retired and new the streets and didn't require time to fill out every blank on the computer that dispatchers now are required to do.. You are a good reporter so maybe you can learn the system westcom uses and instead of making wrong opinions of other's you can learn how to improve response time because it has changed over the years and Police Officers will ask dispatch questions that can be as simple as what color pants was the suspect wearing and dispatch will respond they didn't say. Guess what Bill, dispatch didn't ask

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 9:23 PM

"Less than five minutes, the woman said" is how the article reads, Tommy. How much less? I guess we'd need to see the CAD- Computer Assisted Dispatch- report to know for sure how much time elapsed between the woman's call to WSCDC and police being on site. My irritation is that, with all the problems and challenges society and our institutions face, people still see fit to make negative assertions regarding how authorities responded to a situation with little information or facts. I take a back seat to no one in criticizing actual institutional failures and corruption, but I loath knee jerk criticism based on bias and/or ignorance. But that's just me.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 7:00 PM

Bill Dwyer, Brian seems to be referring to the 5 minute time it took for one Police Officer to respond to the incident with the number of Police on the street

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 6:31 PM

Brian, you're getting tiresome. I know you spent 30 years on the OPPD, and I know you know a few things about policing. But your first post, to anyone who reads and writes English, came across as an implied criticism of the police response. If you DIDN'T mean that, you might want to avoid saying things like "I find it hard to believe that at 6:20 pm, there was not one beat officer, resident beat officer,detective, juvenile officer or supervisor available to break away from their duties and respond to the scene." Because Brian? They DID respond.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 5:36 PM

@ Bill Dwyer: I don't know how you read my first post. My comment is I am of the opinion the statement made by the victim that the police arrived in less than 5 minutes to a victim of a forcible felony maybe be false, without intent, and needs to be looked into. If the arrival time was less than 5 minutes maybe the arrival time was 4 minutes 50 seconds brings me no satisfaction. Circumstance may show all units were tied up. We will never know until the time frame is looked into. the fine efforts of the police should not be tarnished by a falsehood. The fine effort should not be tarnished by circumstance out of their control, i.e. everyone tied up, however the citizens deserve an explanation.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 5:18 PM

@ Jason Cohen: In my opinion a response that took less than five minutes is awful. I m of the opinion that that statement is false, probably caused by confusion. The computer print out of the incident should tell the entire story.

Jim Major from Oak Park   

Posted: November 30th, 2017 4:42 PM

All of the Oak Park carjacking suspects were arrested in Chicago within a very short time span after similar carjackings in Chicago. Great job by OPPD and CPD!

Haney Ned  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 4:30 PM

I think Garcia is right. There is a serious threat to the safety of Oak Parkers and it is getting worse every week. Enough with the noise portraying a racist and unwelcoming community, when it is far from that. Spend more time asking how we can keep our community safe from criminals who prey on our ignorance.

Alex Garcia  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 4:23 PM

Hi Jason: Want a constructive solution to preventing (i.e. not merely reacting) to violent crime in Oak Park? Profiling. There it is. Not very "Oak Park" of me, I know, but if the community/cops see a bunch of 'bangers walking down Lombard, or Kenilworth or whichever leafy side street, there should be at least a defensive response. Instead, Oak Parkers march around, their heads in a social justice fog, priding themselves on whichever leftist cause is in fashion. So, please call me a troll and ignore the stark reality in front of you, which is that you are viewed as merely prey, ripe for "Apple-picking" .

Jason Cohen  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 3:32 PM

Alex, please don't try to pretend like you are offering anything constructive to this discussion with your sarcastic comments. None of the things you mention have any impact on the crime rate or the ability for our police to respond faster. Nice try trolling though.

Alex Garcia  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 2:46 PM

Hi Mike: OP has been experiencing a spike in violent crime over the past year; some other 'burbs (e.g. Elmhurst) also. I'd think that maybe you'd be interested in why that is, but maybe I'm wrong. In the spirit of progressive OP, I'm speculating that it must be because it is not nearly progressive enough; that maybe if there were some more marches against offensive photos/videos/tweets at OPRF, or perhaps more marches for Palestine, or maybe becoming a more robust sanctuary city, that OP'ers would be less likely to be targeted by gangbangers. What's your theory, Mike?

Mike Hanline  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 2:18 PM

Why do you even bother posting on here, Garcia? Nothing better to do with your time than troll?

Alex Garcia  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 12:42 PM

This must be because Oak Park is not empathetic enough and has not gone far enough to admit its white privilege.

Mike Hanline  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 12:12 PM

Furthermore, she said they arrived in "less than five minutes." So...

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 11:27 AM

Brian is correct although so is Bill Dwyer. What needs to be explained more in detail is why there were not enough car's in a zone to cover more than one car jacking. You also had the 15th and 25th district to that should have been dispatched. There was also the time involved that meant a lot of traffic to get through. There should be so many Police Officer's dedicated to each zone and in Chicago, they use chase car's that will overlap and lack in coverage.

Jason Cohen  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 10:53 AM

Brian, I am confused by your post. Are you saying that arriving in less than 5 minutes is bad? It sure seems pretty good to me.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 10:03 AM

Glad you feel the OPPD made a :fine" effort here, Brian. However, that's not how your first post read.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 8:31 AM

There should be nine beat officers working a shift, plus one to three supervisors. I will take 2 for the count.. It is possible that there was a CTA unit working the Austin CTA route,the Austin CTA route is filled first if at all and that unit is sometimes a supervisor, plus two other possible CTA officers, making a total of three call back non shift officers working the time frame The detective division,juvenile officer,supervisors all carry pens and radios more than enough to contact the victim and secure the all important crime scene for a evidence tech..If half the Resident Beat Officer unit plus RBO supervisor were on duty, that is 3 more. That is a count of at least 24 possible officers on duty at that time .And no one was available to respond to the victim who had a gun placed to her head for within five minutes. Even if the beat officer dispatched to the victim stopped someone that matched the description, the person stopped should have been handed over another officer and the beat officer should continue on to the victim. No one loves the beloved boys and girls in blue more than myself and I at one time would take a bullet for any of them.I am of the opinion the statement of a 5 minute wait for a responding unit is false, and needs to be explained by someone in authority. Also is it possible for the possible 24 officers to make 24 street stops, plus unknown CPD officers making stops if the message was dispatched to Chicago in the four blocks between Lombard and Austin and into the City.I want it clear to the citizens what transpired during that time frame. I state again,I am of the opinion the five minute time frame is false, and must be proven so for the peace of mind of the citizens, the citizens that the officers so finely protect. I do not want that fine effort tarnished by a falsehood.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 6:57 AM

The quite likely explanation as to why every officer on duty was tied up at the time the victim called police would be what's clearly explained several sentences downtime story- that police were quite busy dealing with numerous calls of other carjackings. The story also clearly notes that OPPD had located and detained two suspects and were conducting what are called street show ups.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 30th, 2017 2:58 AM

''She called the Oak Park Police Department, and officers arrived in less than five minutes, the woman said" That statement has to be looked into by the Village President, The Village Manager, and The Chief of Police to determine if that statement is true or false. I find it hard to believe that at 6:20 pm, there was not one beat officer, resident beat officer,detective, juvenile officer or supervisor available to break away from their duties and respond to the scene. That statement must be shown to be false or an explaination given as to how and why every officer on the department was tied up with a more crucial call.

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