A man snuck into a woman's van while she was inside a Hammond, Ind., gas station paying for her items last week and later abducted and sexually assaulted her, Chicago police said Thursday.
The 26-year-old woman was at the Shell station, at 10770 S. Indianapolis Blvd., on March 22 when the attacker hid inside her minivan. He revealed himself as she drove away, police said, and forced her to drive to "various locations."
One of those locations was an alley in the 9500 block of South Colfax Avenue, where police said the man dragged the victim into the back of her van and sexually assaulted her. He then forced her to drive to an ATM machine at East 103rd Street and South Torrence Avenue and made her withdraw cash.
The man left the woman in her vehicle in the vicinity of West 89th Street and South Lowe Avenue, police said in a community alert.
Women at the filling station on Thursday said they were shocked to hear the report. Many said they try to remain aware of their surroundings and take extra precautions.
"As soon as I get out of my car I lock my door," said Carol Sanford. "Even if I pump gas I always make sure I only lock, when I press the unlock button, I only unlock my driver door. It doesn't unlock the whole door unless I press it twice."
An employee at the gas station said surveillance cameras recorded the man checking several car doors before getting into the woman's van.
The woman said her attacker was a black man between the ages of 30 and 33 years. He stood between 5 feet, 8 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighed between 160 and 180 pounds, authorities said. He was last seen wearing a black ski mask on his face with a rectangle-shaped opening for his eyes, a long-sleeved, red Chicago Bulls shirt, black and gray jeans, and a dark blue or black varsity-style jacket with horizontal stripes on the sleeves. The jacket had white lettering on the front and a design in white on the back.
The attacker implied to his victim that he had a weapon, possibly a knife, but never displayed it, police said.
Anyone with more information should contact detectives at 312-747-8271 or send tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.