CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago woman spoke out for the first time Wednesday after being targeted and robbed by a criminal crew in Bucktown.
The victim told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot she was able to stay somewhat calm throughout the ordeal.READ MORE: Another Victim Of Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy Identified: Francis Wayne Alexander, Of North Carolina
After hearing about all of the carjackings and armed robberies in the news, Alicia Fierro constantly replayed scenarios in her mind if she were ever a victim.
She did end up being a victim, and she feels that preparation is what saved her life.
“Intrusive, and it feels hurtful,” Fierro said.
Fierro was describing how she felt after becoming the victim of an armed robbery in Bucktown Monday night. She said she has always had it in the back of her mind that she could be carjacked or robbed.
“I had the, ‘What would I do?’ conversation with myself, a lot,” Fierro said, “and I do think some of those conversations I had with myself helped me to stay a calm as I was.”
Fierro has always thought of Bucktown as her sanctuary.
“It’s a beautiful neighborhood,” she said. “There’s families. There’s dogs. It feels good. It’s a feel-good neighborhood.”
But the peacefulness Fierro grown to love about the community, was shattered Monday night.
“As soon as I saw the gun on me, I just went like this!” she said as she put her hands up in the air.
Nest camera video shows Fierro pulling up at 8:11 p.m. Monday on the 1900 block of West Wabansia Avenue. She was driving her white 2013 Range Rover.
Seconds later, a maroon-colored sport-utility vehicle with several men inside pulled out of the alley. Police said the SUV was involved in four crimes in Bucktown and Wicker Park Monday night, ranging from carjackings to the armed robbery with Fierro.
The driver of the maroon SUV was seen heading east down Wabansia Avenue, and then he slowly backed up – ending up right next to Fierro in her SUV.READ MORE: Teen Charged In Pair Of September 2020 Carjackings On South Side
“They were backing up, and I’m thinking that they’re going to park in the spot behind me, so I’m watching them, waiting to open my door – when he opens his door and gets out with the gun pointed at me,” she said.
“He said, ‘Where’s the money? Where’s the money?’ And I said, ‘Everything’s in this bag,’” Fierro said. “Then he asked me several times, ‘What’s the code?’ and he was referring to my phone and I told him.”
On the Nest camera video, a male voice is heard saying, “Unlock it!”
The thieves demanded Fierro unlock her cellphone and wanted the PINs for all of her debit cards.
“And what I told myself was that nothing is worth my life,” Fierro said.
She handed over her phone and purse. The Chicago-based professional photographer said the thieves also took a bag that had $6,000 worth of camera equipment.
Fortunately, they didn’t get the engagement pictures she had just taken for a couple a matter of hours earlier.
“I am so grateful for that, because that would have hurt,” Fierro said.
The thieves didn’t notice Fierro was wearing a strap around her neck. On the strap were two cameras and lenses worth $11,000.
Those newly-snapped engagement photos were on those cameras.
While Fierro says she feels victimized on many levels, she has compassion for the young men who robbed her.
“My biggest point of sadness is just for the kids who are getting sucked into these patterns,” she said.
Fierro said this experience has pushed her to want to make a difference – whether through mentoring young people or community activism.
“It’s the fire that was lit and the change in me,” she said. “We need to come together. We need to come together as a community. Meet your neighbors. Look out for each other.”MORE NEWS: Desperate To Find More Staff, Some Fast Food Restaurants Recruiting Customers
As of Wednesday night, no one was in custody in the robbery or the other incidents involving the maroon SUV.