Fifth woman attacked in series of Oak Park robberies

Woman grabbed around the neck in alley behind Oak Park church

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By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Journal Editor

Another woman was attacked and robbed Thursday night in an alley behind First United Methodist Church, an incident Oak Park police said is likely connected to four earlier attacks this month.

Oak Park Deputy Police Chief Anthony Ambrose said the woman, who was in her mid-20s, was attacked in the alley behind the 300 block of North Oak Park Avenue around 8 p.m. Thursday night.

As in the four previous robberies, the robber came up behind the woman, grabbed her around the neck, then snatched her wallet and ran away, Ambrose said.

No injuries were reported, Ambrose said.

The last incident reported to police was eight days ago, on April 19, he said, and the police are continuing to step up their patrols around central Oak Park.

"We continue to have increased police presence in the area," Ambrose said. "We're going to continue with the increased presence until this offender is apprehended."

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Paddy Boy  

Posted: May 4th, 2011 4:45 PM

On Tues., May 2nd, at around 5:00p.m. I witnessed the OP police respond to an altercation / fight between several adult men on Lake St. directly across from the main post office. The first responder acted quickly and professionally to control the fight and protect any bystanders. All in all the officers involved did a great job in this situation. Good for them.

John DO from Oak Park  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 10:06 PM

The Oak Park Police Department is a joke..finally get a criminal to look for and they can't even find him even though hes attacking these women on lake street...stop looking for kids riding their bikes on the side walk and actually do what the tax payers are GIVING you to do...this is like the 8th women to be attacked...where im from you get fired for not doing your job....

OP Guy  

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 7:02 PM

Actually, we're "Maywood or worse" because of policies implemented years ago regarding not being able to put up for sale signs. The tactic that stopped Oak Park from becoming what so many other suburbs became.

Eyes wide open  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 6:41 PM

How quick we are to blame our police for these attacks. We choose to live in this great town because of diversity but let us not forget that we are next to the crime ridden, gang and drug infested west side. If it wasn't for the brave men and women of the OPPD we would be Maywood, or worse. If blame should be assigned maybe try Barwin or the Village Board for their civil service cutbacks. Put our tax dollars to work and call the police for anything or anyone that you think is suspicious.

Al from Oak Park  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 3:41 PM

To OP Resident: The fact that this ISN'T a master criminal is what makes this whole situation absolutely ridiculous. Oh and thanks to the Guardian Angel who walked me home last night.

OP Resident  

Posted: May 2nd, 2011 1:40 AM

I won't be quiet for teapots. Address these incidents with a reasoned thought process.This is not the case of a master criminal toying with OPPD. Support your local police. The guy will be caught.

T.J. from Oak Park  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 8:20 PM

Shhh... Don't tell anyone that we have a crime problem in Oak Park. Let's keep this a big secret. The WJ has long had a mission to keep things quite. You should too. Those darn Guardian Angels are bringing way too much negative PR to Oak Park.

Fed Up  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 8:12 AM

Not to mention the "American Criminal Liberties Union"

Fed Up  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 8:09 AM

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Violent crime has prospered in Oak Park because the citizens continually elect left wing liberals who are soft on crime.

Fed Up  

Posted: May 1st, 2011 8:08 AM

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Violent crime has prospered in Oak Park because the citizens continually elect left wing libearls who are soft on crime.

paul from oak park  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 10:35 PM

Cameras Chicago has them on every other corner why not have them here? I think Oak Park should have them and have them on ever corner.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 6:25 PM

Any hints on your destination? Homer Glen? Lemont? Just wondering where this shangri la exists...

over taxed no more  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 4:22 PM

Blah blah blah, you will all take it in stride and let more and more take over the streets and smile as you walk past thinking how nice it is to live in such a diverse area. Vote with your dollars and your feet like a lot of other smart people have done. Get out of this town, its over for OP. Over taxed, too liberal and under protected. Movin Out of OP I am with you as soon as I can find a sap to buy my property.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 1:31 PM

Y'day while taking my grandkids to the Tot Lot on Randolph I noticed a thin person about 6' walking out of the alley wearing a hoodie that covered his face. Hoodie's hands were in his pockets so I could not tell the sex, age or race. Following the hoodie was an OP police car moving at the same speed. When the hoodie crossed Randolph and walked toward Grove, the police watched & then moved east up the alley as the Man walked east on Grove. Who was under the Hoodie? Were civil rights in the way?

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 12:51 PM

I agree that the homeless need other services (one thing which jumps out at me is a day center so that they may have a place to go plus maybe use the Internet, bathe, call family, etc.) but I don't believe that this character is necessarily homeless. I feel that he is most likely a resident of some building near the scenes of the crime, which is in the Lake Street/ OP Ave. area. Just a Nancy Drew-esque hunch of mine;)

Carol from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 10:49 AM

Ambrose and Tanksley have been working out of the same playbook for years. Part of plan has worked, fooling the residents and elected officials. We do not feel safe and our homes/streets are NOT protected. Their stats don't match what is actuallly reported, and they seem to not be subjected to any accountability for their failures. We are only interested in results and not the half truths. Sometimes you need to know when to step down or know that you can be replaced at any time. Hello trustees.


Posted: April 30th, 2011 9:02 AM

Jean, so does Cook County Hospital. I think it's great that the churches in the area want to help the homeless however, with the 6 events that have occured within the past month, we need to more concerned for the safety of our villagers.

Jean Lotus from Oak Park  

Posted: April 30th, 2011 8:15 AM

Concerned: Just to clarify for you, PADS has a spectrum of social service help available to guests including: Medical, legal and social workers who volunteer on a regular basis.


Posted: April 29th, 2011 11:53 PM

As I was driving through the middle of Oak Park tonight, I saw a number of Guardian Angels at the El stops. I was also blown away by the number of police cars, marked and unmarked, that were patrolling the streets as well. Hopefully, with the Guardian Angels and the increase of police on the street, this guy can be caught. Don't walk alone at night and remember, if you see any suspicious activity, call the police.

Grateful in OP from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 10:45 PM

I was grateful that Martel, one of the Guardian Angels at the Oak Park el stop tonight, walked me home, about a mile. No one I knew was in a position to pick me up when I arrived at 10pm from work downtown. I have known about this organization for decades, and read in these comments this morning that they were in OP. The group was courteous and informative at the el stop; I was so glad they were there. They will soon get a donation from me.


Posted: April 29th, 2011 8:44 PM

My understanding is that there are homeless shelters that are paid for by our tax dollars that are going empty. PADS is a redundancy of services already being provided for by our government without providing the necessary social services that the homeless require - we do the homeless a disservice by only providing limited housing thru PADS and neglect the social service component that is so necessary in order to truly help.


Posted: April 29th, 2011 6:40 PM

Brad, should have called the police however, if call on suspicious people all the time, the dispatchers will be on the phone non-stop but that's better than nothing. I am totally agreeing with Stanley. Close the shelter. I think we all should get together and form a task force to catch this creep.....or we all could just to the next village board meeting.

Heywood Jalisten from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 6:28 PM

Stanleys right ! We should make everyone a dos bums where a chip in their head so when they get to clos to a real citizen they get a nine volt jolt. and wat about all dos kids in the park yellin and trowin frisbees and laughin dats way out of line. Hey Stosh yur right screw everyone else! We're in da boat, pull up the ladder!

silver kitty from oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 6:11 PM

Ladies should not be walking alone at night-anywhere. I fear going out to the garage after 7:00 pm. This guy is taking full advantage of the opportunity that is offered. Get those whistles at Village Hall and pepper spray. Keep them with you and in hand. My friend was the first reported attackee on North Taylor before all these things happened. Now there is a solid all night yard light in her yard. Motion detectors just do not do enough.

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 5:15 PM

Hate to admit it... but I'm with Stanley. They need some more foot patrols around the park. Start enforcing the minor stuff and the larger problems will go away.


Posted: April 29th, 2011 4:51 PM

Here is my suggestion - close down the shelter at first united and keep the bums from meeting and greeting at the library and around the church and many of our problems will go away. dont we have government programs for people without a job, home, alcohol drug problem. How about the desire to live somewhere safe without trying to fix everyone elses problem - 99 percent who have nobody to blame but themselves. Not very OP but very true.

paul kersey wannabe  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 3:15 PM

OP Guy, you said it best, where is Paul Kersey when you need him. Although this topic isn't funny, your comment cracks me up b/c I was thinking same thing, thanks to amc running old bronson movies lately. Please people (Brad), you see someone "strange" call the police, let them figure out if that person should be there or not....

OP Guy  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 3:03 PM

unhappy oakparker - good idea. I think driving around is something a lot of people can do while staying relatively safe. I'll be doing the same thing. I hope others will follow suit.

unhappy oakparker from oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:58 PM

I am personally going to drive alley to alley in my "unmarked" car and see if perhaps this guy will present himself. If he does, do you think the cops will come in time?

OP Guy  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:54 PM

Where Paul Kersey when you need him?

Bitter Oak Park Solid Citizen  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:37 PM

The police were too busy giving out parking tickets in error yesterday to innocent me for parking in a K5 zone (sign reads Y5 zone). Have you ever noticed how very literate you have to be to park in Oak Park? Multiple parking signs in a row (permit parking zones, no parking 3 to 5 pm on Wed. = confusion). Even the parking patrol can't read signs correctly before ticketing. Now I have to contest the ticket: present evidence (photos of sign) etc.

John B.  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:14 PM

Brad likes to talk tough and encourage racial profiling. Just don't get him started on Halloween. It was safer for him on the Gold Coast.

Mr Cotter from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:08 PM

I realize that the OPPD cannot comment on all aspects of an investigation such as this. They have to be careful with what they put out there, so as not to give a crafty defense lawyer any ammo in court. As citizens we should (as I have done) call the OPPD non-emergency number and request added evening patrols in the alleys within 3 blocks each side of the green line. More calls = more patrols. The OPPD doesn't, nor should they, read the WJ comments.

OP Guy  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:08 PM

Brad, the next time you have a suspicion about someone, call the police. Though I agree that the police are not doing enough (5 attacks are just a joke) the police can't be everywhere at all times, so if any Oak Parkers suspect someone, CALL THE POLICE. The worst that could happen is that the person turns out to be innocent, but there is a greater chance of the police catching these low lives if people take a proactive role.

OakParkJose from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:07 PM

I am guessing this guy does not drive a car because if he was speeding or with an expired parking meter, oh boy, he will be caught in a second.

Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:43 PM

Do ya, Chris? Would it be humorous if this thug-wanna-be went after your mother or daughter or wife? He hasn't taken on a male "townsmen" yet. If he runs into me, the outcome is going to be quite a bit different, I promise.

Chris Carrier from OP  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:40 PM

I feel like I'm reading the last act of Frankenstein where the commenters are the townspeople.

Movin Out of OP  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:28 PM

I too live at the Santa Maria and have not noticed one extra patrol in the evenings. You want to know when I see them, in the MORNINGS! I have seen the 200 & 300 blocks of Oak Park Avenue crawling with cops in the morning when I head off to work but nothing in the evenings when all these attacks have happened. This is just showing how over paid and incompetent our police force in the village is. This is ridiculous!

Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:26 PM

What bothers me most about this is that I think this guy might be doing it for some thrill of excitement. If that is the case, what he does is going to escalate with time and somebody may possibly get hurt.

Anne from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:24 PM

If there really were five before this most recent one then I must have missed one. I had only heard about four which would make this the fifth. I agree, a plain clothes undercover police woman is the only chance of catching this guy.


Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:20 PM

I, too, am surprised that the WJ has not provided coverage of the Guardian Angels' presence. Villagers should know the Angels are here, on foot and on mountain bikes; and should know the service they are providing. Let OPers know when they see men in berets and white & red t-shirts, standing on the corner late night, that they are not the criminals nor vigilantes. The Angels are offering to escort pedestrians, and are providing extra sets of eyes in addition to what OP PD is doing. Good things.

Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:18 PM

Very interesting - last night I saw a guy walking on the East Side of Oak Park Avenue, northbound, just sound of the Green Line. He passed the Green Line entrance and continued under the viaduct. His facial features resembled this composite sketch, but he had dred-locked hair, about chin length. I guess I'm profiling now, but he looked out of place and like he had a menacing/up-to-no-good look about him. Bottom line, this guy is not going to get caught unless the police start to profile

Pauline from River Forest  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:09 PM

under cover is the best way to go.

epic lulz  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 1:08 PM

The WJ previously reported a fourth and fifth victim linked to the same attacker, which would make the current victim number six. Were one of those attacks subsequently delinked?

mil12 from oak park   

Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:42 PM

All of you raise great points especially the idea of having a lady police officer go undercover. I remember Oak Park used to be my dream city so peaceful and safe......i don't know. But correct me if i'm wrong but I thought this was number six. However something needs to be done because right now he's laughing at the police. So I think they need to take a different approach to catch this JERK!!!!!

Jane Cozzi from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:20 PM

I live at the Santa Maria where one of the attacks occurred and only one block from where the attack took place last nite! I have to say I come home at all different hours of the evening anywhere from 7:30 to midnight.....not once since these attacks have been publicized have I seen a police car patroling the area!!! Where are you????


Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:14 PM

This is outrageous and unacceptable. The police department needs to put several of their women officers undercover and catch this guy. This being the 5th woman attacked is making the police department look like they aren't doing their job. So, let's begin to do our job to catch this guy or get another force in here that will.

Violet Aura  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:07 PM

Wow...And it wasn't that late, nor was it related to getting off the Green Line. The WJ still hasn't covered the fact that the Guardian Angels are escorting people from the El. I wonder what exactly can be done in a situation like this?

OakParkBob from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:07 PM

This guy is really making our pitiful police force look bad! The see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil patrol methodology is being exposed. Big time!

Lydia from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 12:04 PM

I think this guy now thinks he wont get caught and is making it a game. Maybe us as citizens should form a group and walk the streets at night. I don't feel safe anymore. He is going to hurt someone one day. Lets take our Village back!!

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