CHICAGO (CBS) — A Wicker Park neighborhood woman is speaking out after becoming one of several women who’ve been mugged on the Northwest Side lately.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, Kathy Pilch, 27, says she and her friends were walking to her home in Wicker Park when they noticed a man and a woman walking behind them, around 1 a.m. this past Saturday morning.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

“It just seemed like it was another couple going home,” she said.

As she laughed and talked with her friend around Division Street and Greenview Avenue, before she knew it, that couple was standing in front of them.

Pilch says the man demanded her purse.

She and her friend tried to defend themselves.

“As he’s pulling me around and I felt so sore, at that point, my instincts kicked in to defend myself. I just started kicking him as hard as I can,” Pilch said.

But both Pilch and her friend were shoved to the ground.

“It was an unexpected situation,” Pilch said. “I was more angry than scared.”

The pair eventually got away with Pilch’s bag — and had already used her debit card by the time she had gotten home. Pilch’s friend called police.

Pilch says she’s still looking for work, and had just lost an internship that day. Thus, the thieves got away with the last $40 in her account.

Police in that neighborhood issued a alert last week warning the community about a rash of strong arm robberies in the area.

Pilch says she gave up her car and moved to the city last year to be closer to the areas where she is looking for work.

She says the incident has not made her rethink living in the city, but she feel angry at the couple for stealing her purse, when everyone is struggling economically.

A rash of strongarm robberies has hit the Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square neighborhoods in recent weeks, although in the other incidents, the robber has worked alone. He has also targeted women walking alone.

The robber has taken wallets, money and cell phones from his victims.

Early in the morning on Friday, Jan. 27, one of the robberies was caught on surveillance video. The video from the camera inside Penny’s Noodles, 1542 N. Damen Ave., shows a woman carrying a purse as she walks past the junction of Damen and Pierce avenues.

A man is walking several steps behind her, but suddenly, he quickens his pace and grabs the woman. He yanks away her purse, throws her to the ground, and runs off.

Robberies have also been reported in the following locations:

• the 3100 block of West Fullerton Avenue, Dec. 4, 2011, 5:20 a.m.
• the 1800 block of North California Avenue, Dec. 17, 2011, 6 a.m.
• the 1700 block of North Central Park Avenue, Dec. 21, 2011, 6:15 a.m.
• the 1900 block of North Western Avenue, Dec. 22, 2011, 11 p.m.
• the 2100 block of North California Avenue, Dec. 24, 2011, 7:30 a.m.
• the 2000 block of North Kimball Avenue, Dec. 31, 2011, 11:20 p.m.
• the 1500 block of North Hoyne Avenue, Jan. 3, 2012, 3 a.m.
• the 1700 block of West Wabansia Avenue, Jan. 4, 2012, 4:32 p.m.
• the 2600 block of West Wellington Avenue, Jan. 6, 2012, 8 p.m.
• the 2100 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, Jan. 8, 2012, noon
• the 1500 block of North Maplewood Avenue, Jan. 20, 2012, 8 p.m.
• the 1500 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, Jan. 21, 2012, 2 a.m.

On Friday, Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno reported that a suspect had been arrested in connection with the robberies. But it turned out that the suspect was not linked to the incidents.

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