A chilling robbery happened Thursday night just steps from where Carmen Cruz lives with her family in Lake View.
“There were a lot of people walking around. A young woman was mugged for her phone and I could have been another victim. Fortunately, I was not,” she said.
Cruz told NBC 5 that she had just got home from work and was about to walk in when she noticed a teenager pacing outside her house near Southport Avenue and Bryon Street.
“They were asking to use my phone so they could call their mother. Their phone was dead. They needed my phone so they could call their mom,” Cruz said. “I just stood there with my phone in my pocket staring and was about to say ‘what’s the number? I’ll dial the number for you, until I see the victim scream.
Cruz said the victim, a 25-year-old woman, is her neighbor. She was walking her dog when the robbery suspect grabbed her from behind, threw her to the ground and ran away with her phone.
“During this time she was very shaken up. She was crying, she had her dog with her,” she said. “Luckily a lot of her neighbors gathered around her, you know, to comfort her. ”
Seconds after the robbery, Cruz said the suspect ran down the alley with the teenager who asked to use his phone.
“They were young – the one who approached me was very young,” she said. “My son is 14 and I confused him with his friend.”
Chicago police issued community alerts warning neighbors of the crime. At least 14 robberies have been reported late evening and early morning in Lake View since early November. Three of the crimes occurred Thursday evening ten minutes apart.
“All you can do is be alert; keep your phone in your pocket, you know; do not carry so much money; keep your flow; no money,” Cruz said.
Police believe the same suspects may be responsible for some of these thefts.
“You have to be very aware of your surroundings now. As women, take self-defense precautions, pepper spray, whatever you can, scream, drop to the ground,” Cruz said. “Everything can be replaced, but not your life.”
Here’s where other thefts have been reported in Lake View over the past month:
- 700 block of West Buena Avenue on November 8 at midnight
- Block 1000 of West Diversey on November 8 at 1:19 a.m.
- Block 3400 of North Clark on Nov 8 at 2:10 a.m.
- 2900 block of North Broadway on November 8 at 2:50 a.m.
- 3200 block of North Broadway on November 8 at 2:55 a.m.
- 800 block of West Wolfram Street on November 17 at 9:20 p.m.
- Block 3900 of North Janssen Avenue in November at 10:05 p.m.
- Block 1800 of West Wellington Avenue on November 28 at 1 a.m.
- 1000 block of West Barry Avenue on December 1 at 8:15 p.m.
- 1600 block of West Cornelia Avenue on December 1 at 8:53 p.m.
- 1400 block of West Cornelia Avenue on December 1 at 8:55 p.m.
- 3900 block of North Southport Avenue on December 2 at 5:10 p.m.
- 1300 block of West School Street on December 2 at 5:23 p.m.
- 1300 block of West Grace Street on December 2 at 5:35 p.m.