In the wake of at least four attacks on women in south suburban Midlothian, the town's mayor is warning residents not to go out alone.
"Please don't be out alone unless you have to be," said Mayor Sharon Rybak. "If you need a ride please call, find a friend, just don't be out alone."
The most recent attack took place over the weekend when a woman was attacked while walking home from a Metra station.
She was violently robbed around 12:30 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of 145th Street and Trumbull Avenue, police said.
The attacker was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with his face covered.
"The guy grabbed her by the back of her purse and then went around and punched her in the face, took her purse and her bag," said the victim's sister, who asked to not be named for safety concerns. "This has been going on here for at least several days."
That marked the fourth such attack in as many weeks for the south suburb and police and residents are on edge.
"We are highly concerned about this," said Chief Gerald Kaufman. "That's why we are doing everything possible to bring this matter to justice."
The first reported attack took place July 20, just blocks from the police station near 150th and Harding.
A woman with her child was approached by a man with a gun. The woman said the man punched her and demanded a sex act that she refused to perform.
The man ultimately fled with her purse and about $20.
Police said another woman was attacked around midnight July 29 near Central Park Avenue and Abbottsford Road by a masked man who punched her and stole her purse.
The woman told police she saw the man walking behind two women on 146th Street and Abbottsford Road but when they entered a nearby residence, the man turned and started jogging in her direction. The woman ran, but the man sprinted after her and tackled her to the ground.
"It's very scary," said area resident Pamela Bruck. "We are very concerned about that when I get home at 11:30 at night."
Police say they've increased patrols and approved overtime to cover the area.
Six detectives have been assigned to the case full time.
Still, residents said they're worried about their safety and the safety of their loved ones.
"[My granddaughter] cannot be outside by herself," said resident Melody Kurzweil. "She has got to call me at night and let me know that she has checked in and let me know she is spending the night at a friend's, otherwise grandpa is going to have to go pick her up."