A neighbor captured a van speeding off after an attempted kidnapping in the West Loop Sunday morning. Credit: Facebook

WEST LOOP — Police issued a community alert after a rideshare driver and passenger intervened to stop a kidnapping attempt Sunday morning on the same West Loop block where a different kidnapping attempt was reported one month earlier. 

About 8:45 a.m., a 45-year-old woman was walking in the 200 block of South Sangamon Street when a minivan driver stopped near her. A man got out of the minivan and walked up to her, grabbing the woman’s arms and trying to pull her toward the minivan, police said.

Police described the vehicle as a maroon Dodge Plymouth minivan. 

In a text message to Block Club, the victim said she was out on her usual morning walk about three blocks from her apartment when she was nearly kidnapped by a man she did not know. The man grabbed her and started pulling her into the van, she said.

The woman screamed “help me” at the top of her lungs, holding onto the doorframe of the van and ripping out its rubber seal while the man tried to silence her, she said.

The woman said that she continued to scream as he hit her against the door and shouted at her, “Shut the f— up!”

The man let go of the woman when a good Samaritan rideshare passenger approached and confronted him, the victim said. The attacker went into the van and grabbed a screwdriver to intimidate the rideshare passenger, but the victim and the passenger were able to get away, she said.

A video taken by a neighbor shows a driver trying to block in the kidnapper with a car, but the kidnapper was able to drive around it and speed away down Sangamon Street. 

“Her screams were deafening,” another neighbor said.

The victim said she always felt safe in the neighborhood before the attack and thanked the driver and passenger for saving her.

Police said the attacker was a man who is 30-40 years old and was wearing “a white baggy sweatshirt rolled up to the elbows with dark writing on the front and gray baggy sweatpants.”

Police said they found the minivan, but nobody is in custody. Detectives are investigating, police said. 

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The attempted kidnapping occurred on the same stretch of Sangamon Street where a dog walker intervened to stop a different attempted kidnapping of a 30-year-old woman in late August. Police also issued a community alert regarding that incident, which happened about 7:30 a.m. Aug. 24.

In that case, the dog walker saw a man emerge from a red sedan at the intersection of Adams Street and Sangamon and approach the woman. Noticing that the woman flinched when the offender touched her and attempted to steer her toward the sedan, the dog walker ran across the street and bear-sprayed the man.

The sedan fled with four passengers, police and the dog walker said. 

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 dog walker described the offender in the attacker in that attempted kidnapping as in his mid-20s and about 6 feet tall.

Police could not confirm Sunday whether the two incidents were connected. 

Days before the Aug. 24 attempted kidnapping, neighbors also reported hearing screams from a woman yelling “get off of me” and witnessing a car drive off with its rear-door open in what appeared to be another kidnapping or an attack on a woman. Police could not provide further details on that incident, which happened about 11:30 p.m.

Neighbors described the tree-canopied stretch of Sangamon Street where the incidents occurred as a usually quiet block just west of Greektown.

Police advised in the community alert to remember unique characteristics of offenders and to never pursue a fleeing attacker. They requested anyone with information regarding the most recent incident to reach out to detectives at 312-744-8261 or to submit information to cpdtips.com.