Minister Offers Reward In Oak Park Attacks

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) — As police in Oak Park try to solve five recent robberies, all involving female victims, a West Side minister is trying to raise a reward to catch the person responsible.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, the series of muggings in Oak Park have all occurred within the past five weeks.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

Thus far, police have no one in custody but have stepped up patrols.

The Rev. Jim Allen, who runs a Chicago Peace Campaign, says his group is not only trying to raise awareness but provide an incentive for someone to come forward with information.

Allen said his group is seeking to “just give people the incentive to say, ‘I have some information, but I’d like to remain anonymous; I’d love to be the recipient of the cash reward.”

Allen is trying to raise $5,000, and is asking that donations be sent to Village of Oak Park.

In the most recent attack, Oak Park police said the woman, who was in her mid-20s, was attacked and robbed in alley behind the 300 block of North Oak Park Avenue, just after she had parked her car on Superior Street. She had walked down the alley approaching the back door of a church, police said.

As in the other four incidents, the robber came up from behind and grabbed the woman around the neck. He took her wallet and fled, police said.

The other robberies occurred in recent weeks along Lake Street near the Green Line, police said. The attacks have all occurred since March 30.
The first in the string of robberies happened March 30 in the 200 block of Lake Street. A second incident took place on April 2, near Lake Street and Austin Boulevard. The third happened on April 4 on the 200 block of North Oak Park Avenue.

The victim in the robbery on April 4 was able to help police create a composite sketch of the suspect.

“I mean, he got $100, but he almost killed me,” victim Lisa Dodge said. “He jumped me, he started strangling me. He threw me to the ground and started basically trying to kill me for my purse.”

Another attack happened April 19 in the 200 block of South Harvey Avenue. The victim spoke exclusively CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot, and said she was screaming for help at the top of her lungs with a bloody nose.

“I walked outside of the garage and I was closing the back garage door, and the person just jumped on me from behind,” she said. The robber got her purse, which contained $40.

The woman described her attacker as being about 5 feet 9 inches tall, 200 pounds, medium build, unknown age. A witness said the suspect ran from the Harvey Avenue alley to the driver’s side of a light-colored newer model Ford sport-utility vehicle or Jeep Cherokee, and drove away westbound. Another witness described the car as possibly an older model.

There was an additional attack that same day, on a woman who was in her backyard in a backyard in Oak Park , but police do not believe that attack was related.

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