BUCKTOWN — A nanny pushing a 1-year-old in a stroller Tuesday said a barefoot man snatched away her iPhone in broad daylight.
It happened around 12:15 p.m. in the 2000 block of West Wabansia Avenue in Bucktown, according to police and nanny Maggie Duggan.
She said she was pushing a stroller east on Wabansia Avenue toward Damen Avenue. The baby girl she watches was drinking from a bottle as Duggan took out her iPhone to snap a photo of a “for rent” sign on an apartment building on the block.
She then tucked her phone into a pocket attached to the bassinet-style stroller.
Then, as she was preparing to pass Olivia’s Market, Duggan said she “felt a presence” behind her.
“I had feeling someone was behind me, so I pulled over to let whoever it was pass, and this guy who was right behind me, he reached into the stroller and took my phone. I was frozen. I was scared at first he was trying to take the stroller and baby,” Duggan said.
A man who was unloading a truck nearby — who had noticed a barefoot man following the woman — sprung into action.
“The delivery truck man screamed at the guy and chased him all the way down the alley and by The 606,” Duggan said.
After a long chase that went through a condo building’s courtyard, the phone thief ended up hopping a fence in a parking lot near The 606 and getting away.
Officer Laura Amezaga, a Chicago Police spokeswoman, confirmed the crime and chase by the Good Samaritan.
No one is in custody.
Duggan said she noticed a white hoodie and bare feet, but could not get a better look at the robber for a full description.
Duggan said she was too preoccupied with making sure the baby was unharmed to notice any other identifying details about the man who’d crept up behind them. She also had no plans to try and get her phone back or chase the thief.
“I can’t even think of what his hand looked like in the stroller, I was just thinking of the baby, I was like ‘Screw the phone,’ ” Duggan said.
As the Good Samaritan chased after the man, Duggan was able to call 911 on a phone borrowed from a mail carrier who was also on the street at the time.
“While I was making the call, I saw a police car go by on Damen. As soon as I said an iPhone was taken, [dispatchers] considered it a stolen phone and not a robbery,” Duggan said.
“I said I want to file a report, there is a civilian chasing the man. I’m with a baby, I can’t do anything,” Duggan said she told the dispatcher.
Duggan, who got her iPhone X last Christmas as a gift, used the Where’s My Phone app on a laptop to track the phone’s whereabouts and told another dispatcher after calling back again where the man was then, apparently just past Armitage and Damen.
“I said I know where the person is. The operator said, ‘You have to be present at the location, where the phone is,’ and it was frustrating because I was present earlier, at the chase when it was in progress,” Duggan said.
Duggan said she was disappointed with the way the 911 call was handled, in contrast to the admiration she felt over the stranger who tried to help her.
“I was in awe over how awesome that guy was for chasing him and risking his own body,” Duggan said.
In a Facebook post to a Wicker Park neighborhood watch page on Tuesday, Duggan posted “a shout out” to the bystander who chased the thief for blocks until he jumped a fence and got away with an iPhone” and told residents she submitted a complaint to the police district and operators “who refused to send a police unit to a robbery and chase in progress.”
Duggan said she’s been working as a nanny to the same Bucktown family for almost three years and she’s lived in Wicker Park for almost 4 years.
“I’ve never been scared, but now in broad daylight this happens. I am shook up from that,” Duggan said.
She said the family she works for was so glad that neither the baby nor her were hurt.
“They thought it was great I was protecting their baby and didn’t care about my phone,” Duggan said.