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NW Side Residents Look To Defend Selves Against Recent Attacks

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Members of the Guardian Angels demonstrate self-defense techniques at a Logan Square tae kwan do studio in the wake of a series of muggings in the area. (Credit: CBS)

Members of the Guardian Angels demonstrate self-defense techniques at a Logan Square tae kwan do studio in the wake of a series of muggings in the area. (Credit: CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Enough is enough for some Chicagoans fed up with attacks on women in Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square.

A recent attack was even caught on video. The attacker approached a woman from behind, pushed her down and grabbed her purse.

What would you do if it happened to you? As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, several Chicago women and men are learning how to fight back, if they come under attack.

Every woman who spoke to CBS 2 on Tuesday about the recent attacks in the Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park areas was already aware of the robberies.

They don’t agree on how they would handle an attack like the one caught on video 10 days ago outside of Penny’s Noodles, at 1542 N. Damen Ave. just south of the iconic and bustling intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues.

Surveillance video showed the mugger approaching a woman from behind, grabbing her purse, and brutally throwing her to the ground.

“I don’t know, I’d probably just give the purse up,” one woman said.

“I would fight back,” another woman said. “I think so, without a doubt.”

Tuesday night, at a Tae Kwan Do studio in Logan Park, members of the Guardian Angels showed local residents how to do just that: fight back.

“Enough is enough. It’s time for us to teach the community people how to not become victims, first and foremost,” Guardian Angel Miguel Fuentes said.

Fernand Vargas, a self-defense instructor and Guardian Angel, told people at the class that if all the attacker wants is their purse or bag, they should give it up.

But if they get knocked down and their assailant is trying to hurt them, victims should lay on their backs, pull their knees up to their stomachs, and protect themselves by kicking at their attacker.

“Obviously, you just want to get away, get to a safe location, call the police immediately, give a good description as possible, and let the police do their work,” Fuentes said.

A total of 13 attacks have been reported over the past couple of months in an area bounded by Ashland Avenue on the east, Central Park Avenue on the west, Belmont Avenue on the north and Division Street on the south. The locations of the robberies are in trendy Near Northwest Side neighborhoods of Logan Square, Wicker Park and Bucktown.

The most recent robbery happened around 5:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, outside of Penny’s Noodles, at 1542 N. Damen Ave. just south of the iconic and bustling intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues.

Prior to the Jan. 27 incident, the same robber was suspected in 12 other attacks:

• 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.

The suspect has been targeting women, and has stolen purses, money and cell phones.

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