WEST TOWN — A video shows a group of West Town residents frantically trying to stop someone from carjacking their neighbor last month, with one man kicking the thief as he sat in the driver’s seat.
The video was recently shared in a private Facebook group, where it alarmed neighbors tired of carjackings in the city. The woman who, who Block Club spoke to for this story, is not being named because she is a victim of a crime.
About 11:50 a.m. May 19, the woman was unloading groceries on Artesian Avenue when a man walked up to her and knocked six bags out of her hands, grabbed a bag on her shoulder with her phone, keys and wallet and hit her head, she said. The man then got into her Chevy.
The woman screamed and a group of neighbors ran toward the car. One person recorded the attack as others attempted to pull the man out of the woman’s car. One man opened the car door and kicked the attacker, but the man was able to shut the door and drive away.
The woman said her credit card was used in The Loop following the attack.
According to a police report, the carjacker had a gun, but the woman told Block Club she did not remember seeing a gun.
Even though the man got away with the woman’s car and wallet, she said she appreciated neighbors acting quickly to help her.
“Everyone on this block looks out for each other,” the woman said. “I’m lucky to have had such support, and for this I’m most thankful. Also, absolutely giving thanks no lives were taken or more serious injuries suffered. Things would not have played out this way if a gun was present.”
No one was in custody as of Tuesday, police said. Detectives are investigating.
Carjackings skyrocketed in 2020 and continued that pace in early 2021. A cluster of attacks was recently reported in Bucktown.
Since January, the city beefed up its carjacking task force, adding officers to hard-hit areas and installing license plate reader cameras along heavily trafficked corridors.
West Town resident Sam Royko created the Greater West Town Community Coalition group after his girlfriend was carjacked in Wicker Park earlier this year. He was among a group of residents who pushed city leaders to address the rise in carjackings during a five-hour public hearing in January.
“We’ve been in peaks and valleys right now with carjackings,” he said. “It’s terrible to see this kind of creeping back.”
The woman who was carjacked on Artesian Avenue said she feels like attackers are driving around the city “stalking” their next victim.
“Unfortunately, it’s getting to the point where you can’t let your guard down at any time in this city,” she said.
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