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Woman Raped Inside River North Shop

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River North Rape

A woman was sexually assaulted inside a River North business on Aug. 6, 2013, when a man held her at knifepoint inside the shop. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 08/07/13 – 9:50 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A woman was raped late Tuesday night as she was closing up shop at a business in the River North neighborhood.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the 42-year-old woman was closing one of the businesses on East Illinois Street around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, when a man came up to the store and said he’d left something inside.

When the woman opened the door and let him in, he pulled out a knife, forced her to a restroom in the back of the store, and raped her.

He trapped her in a stall, smoked crack cocaine and assaulted her, police said.

The woman then heard her husband walking around inside the store and screamed for help, police said.

The husband grabbed a bat and and chased the suspect, who then was able to escape on Illinois Street, police said.

Police said several people heard the woman screaming for help, and they called 911. The attacker fled the scene before officers arrived.

The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The attacker was described as an African American man between the ages of 30 and 40, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9, and 160-180 pounds. He had a medium complexion, and afro hairstyle; and was wearing blue jeans, brown shoes, and a black T-shirt.

Those who live in the area said they can’t believe the suspect would attack a woman in such an open and well-traveled area.

“I’ve always felt really comfortable. I’ve lived here, I’ve been a homeowner for 4 years, and I’ve never really felt like my safety was threatened at all,” Laura Gawel said. “I walk these streets every day, even that late at night. So, yeah, it is surprising.”

Monica Nappe, who works nearby, said, “people do crazy things. … You just have to be really careful, just to make sure you are aware.”

Lauren Rapinchuk said it was surprising to hear about an attack at 10:15 p.m., because a lot of people are still in the area that time, visiting bars and restaurants.

“I mean, I could see maybe something more like 3, 4 in the morning,” she said.

Guardian Angels National Director Miguel Fuentes says the Angels will be making special patrols the next few nights.

“We’re in the River North area, we’re approaching businesses, people on the street giving them some safety tips, some information in regards to the sexual assault. We want businesses to hire two employees if possible for closing and also for them to run their cameras not only during business hours but also after hours,” said Fuentes.

Fuentes says those on foot should have their phones at the ready to call 9-1-1, but to stay alert…by otherwise staying off their phones and putting away the ear buds.

No one was in custody as of late Wednesday morning and police are checking private surveillance cameras

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