Ukrainian Village

70-Year-Old Woman Battling Stage Four Breast Cancer Carjacked in Ukrainian Village

NBC Universal, Inc.

Police are looking for a man who carjacked a 70-year-old woman as she was leaving a bakery on Chicago’s Near West Side.

Justine Kotlarz is already facing a major battle in life—stage four breast cancer.

“You know it doesn’t matter if you’re in broad day light or in the dark,” said Kotlarz. “They still get you.”

The attack was captured on surveillance video near Chicago Avenue and Leavitt Street in Ukrainian Village. Kotlarz said she was leaving Ann’s Bakery and Deli when she noticed a man standing outside.

“He was just standing there then before I knew it he was in the back of me,” she said. “I was thinking 'oh God,' you know.”

An employee told NBC 5 that the man was inside the bakery just moments before he approached Koltarz and asked her for the address to the bakery.

“I told him it was Chicago and Leavitt. He started yelling and I said 'I’m not sure.' [He says] 'You live around here and you don’t know?,'” she said. “He goes, 'tell my girlfriend what address is this' and he started shoving the phone at me and stupid me took it and before I knew, he grabbed my key from my hands and shoved me into the next car.”

Kotlarz said she thought he was going to kill her.

“I was beside myself, especially when he shoved me against the other car and I thought 'oh my God,'” she said. “He probably got a gun. He’s gonna shoot.”

The suspect drove off with her car leaving her and her daughter absolutely stunned. Kotlarz was able to run back into the bakery where employees helped her to call 911.

“It’s unfortunate when it happens to anybody but the fact that she’s 70 and still working and dealing with cancer I just thought this is the last thing that she needs,” said her daughter Tina Kotliarchuk.

For the past nine years, Kotlarz has been undergoing treatment to contain her cancer. The 70-year-old said she's counting her blessing that she’s still alive and knows a wrong move yesterday could have ended her life.

“I never thought anything like this would happen,” she said.

Kotlarz told NBC 5 that police tracked her stolen car to Chicago Avenue and Lawndale Avenue after it was captured on a license plate reading camera Monday evening.

Her car is currently being processed for finger prints. Police have not made any arrest in the case.

Contact Us