LOGAN SQUARE — Avondale residents are on high alert after a machete-wielding man attacked at least six people on the Northwest Side in recent days.
Though police have yet to make an arrest, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said Monday the department is “expending all of our resources” to catch the assailant.
“We’re adding resources to the area where this happening, we did that overnight and we’re going to add even more resources until this person is brought into custody,” Brown said at a citywide press conference.
At least six armed robberies have been reported in Avondale and Irving Park since May 27 — all committed by a man armed with a machete, according to a victim and a police alert issued over the weekend.
Police said they believe one man is responsible is for the attacks.
In all of the incidents, a machete-wielding man demanded the victim’s belongings before driving off in a silver, four-door sedan, police said. In one incident, another person drove the getaway car.
“Obviously we’re concerned as every resident is that this violent person is using a weapon like a machete,” Brown said.
An Avondale man, who declined to be named for safety reasons, was attacked around 11:45 p.m. May 30 in the 2800 block of North Francisco Avenue.
The man said he was driving home from a friend’s place when he noticed a suspicious driver on his street who was parked halfway in a spot and then drove past him without headlights.
After the man parked, the driver chased him with a machete, demanding his wallet, the man said.
“I walked across the street and locked my car, and he jumped out of his car and I heard quick footsteps behind me,” the man said. “He had started to chase me with a machete and was saying, ‘Give me all of your cash! I’m going to f—— kill you! I’m going to chop you into pieces!'”
While running away, the man said he tripped in a hole in the grass. The attacker stood over him, swinging his machete around and continuing to demand his wallet, but the man didn’t have it on him.
“He didn’t believe me, and he was like, ‘Dude, I’m going to f—— kill you! Give me your wallet!'” the man said.
Finally, after a struggle that involved some kicking, the attacker took the man’s iPhone and got into his car and sped off westbound down Diversey Avenue, the man said. Police later recovered the victim’s phone near where the attacker’s car was parked.
“I think he might’ve just taken my phone so I didn’t call the cops immediately or so I couldn’t take a picture of the license plate or vehicle,” the man said.
Police said similar incidents occurred:
- 7:58 p.m. May 27 in the 3000 block of North Christiana Avenue
- 11:45 p.m. May 30 in the 3200 block of North Monticello Avenue
- sometime between 11:45 p.m. May 20 and 12:10 a.m. May 31 in the 4100 block of West Fletcher Street
- 9 p.m. June 3 in the 3300 block of North Monticello Avenue
- sometime between 9-9:15 p.m. June 3 in the 4000 block of West Eddy Street
The man attacked on Francisco Avenue said he only came away with scrapes and bruises, but he’s dealing with the psychological trauma of being randomly attacked. He said he’s been “clutching” pepper spray wherever he goes.
“I thought I was for sure going to get stabbed and murdered on the street,” the man said.
“No matter how hard I fight it, I see an image of the man standing above me with a machete saying, ‘I’m going to chop you into pieces!’ and swinging it, and me being very defenseless on the ground holding my hands in the air.”
Neighboring Logan Square saw three similar attacks last year — also by a man brandishing a machete.
Banner Sperlazzo, 28, of suburban Elgin, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon in two of the attacks, which happened on Sept. 5 and Nov. 21.
In one of those attacks, Sperlazzo yelled, “In the name of Jesus Christ!” as he slashed the victim, prosecutors said. In the other, Sperlazzo struck the victim with a hammer before trying to stab him with a machete.
Sperlazzo was ordered held on no bail and remains in jail, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office. His next court date is June 21.
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