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Woman Escapes Potential Kidnapping In West Loop Thanks To Quick-Acting Dog Walker

The incident comes just days after residents reported another eerie attack on a woman nearby. Police are investigating if the incidents are related, an alderman said.

A woman was saved by a bystander Wednesday when a stranger attempted to lure her into a car in the 200 block of South Sangamon Street.
Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago
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WEST LOOP — West Loop neighbors are reeling after a 30-year-old woman escaped a potential kidnapping in the neighborhood just days after residents reported another eerie attack on a woman nearby.

The 30-year-old woman was saved by a quick-thinking dog walker who use bear spray against the attacker Wednesday morning after he attempted to lure the woman into a car with three other people inside, police said.

The incident happened 7:26 a.m. in the 200 block of South Sangamon Street, police said. The dog walker, who asked not to be named because he fears for his safety, told Block Club he saw a man get out from the back of a red sedan at West Adams and South Sangamon streets and walk up to a woman, putting his arm around her and attempting to steer her toward the car.

The woman flinched when the man touched her, the dog walker said. He ran across the street to yell at the man, he said.

“I could tell immediately that she didn’t know him,” he said.

As the man got into the passenger side of the of car, the dog walker bear sprayed into the car before the door closed and the driver took off. He saw several people in the car, he said; police said there were four people.

After the woman was safe, she told the dog walker the man luring her told her she was “looking really good. Why don’t you come with me?”

The man, who was wearing a face mask, was in his mid-20s, 5-foot-11 to 6-feet tall and about 150 pounds, the dog walker said.

Police are reviewing video evidence and interviewing witnesses to determine if the incident was an attempted robbery or something more, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) said. Police have classified the incident as a battery.

The dog walker said he doesn’t believe the attacker was trying to rob the woman.

“She had a huge bag. … So he wasn’t trying to get her bag, because he would have just taken that. He was trying to get her,” the dog walker said.

Credit: Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago
The bear spray the dog walker used to deter the man who tried to lure away a woman Wednesday in West Loop.

‘Her Screams Echoed From The Buildings’

Wednesday’s attack has residents on high alert after another attack was reported by neighbors earlier in the week.

About 11:30 p.m. Sunday, a West Loop resident heard a woman screaming “get off of me” from inside a parked car along South Sangamon Street near West Madison Street, she said. The neighbor — looking out her window from above — saw a man block the open driver’s side door of a silver four-door sedan that had at least one other person in the car’s back seat, she said.

“Her scream echoed from the buildings,” she said. “All I could do is yell from above, hoping to distract them … . But they were all business. … If they did hear me, they didn’t acknowledge me.”

The driver sped away with the rear door still open, flapping in the wind, the neighbor said. She called 911 and police responded to the scene, she said.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she suspected at the time it was a kidnapping.

“I’ve lived in this city nearly 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said.

Sigcho-Lopez said police are investigating if the two incidents are related. Police could not immediately confirm Wednesday if they are investigating the Sunday incident.

Katalin Ogren, president emeritus of the West Loop Community Organization, said the attack on the woman Wednesday morning was “horrific.”

“We were also made aware of another situation that took place over the weekend and are working with [the Police Department] on that investigation,” she said.

Police are encouraging those who live around Mary Bartelme Park to be on alert and to call 911 immediately if they notice anything suspicious, Sigcho-Lopez said.

Extra police patrols will be added in the immediate area, police said.

Ogren said the West Loop Community Organization has self-defense workshops planned for September she hopes neighbors will attend.

“These are meant to expose people to strategies that they can pursue for a crisis like being attacked,” she said.

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