A frightening robbery happened Thursday evening steps from where Carmen Cruz lives with her family in Lake View.
“There was a lot of people walking around. A young lady got mugged for her phone and I could have been another victim. Luckily, I wasn’t,” she said.
Cruz told NBC 5 she had just gotten home from work and was getting ready to go inside when she noticed a teenage boy just pacing in front of her house near Southport Avenue and Bryon Street.
“They were asking to use my phone so they could call their mother. Their phone had died. They needed my phone so they could dial their mom” Cruz said. “I just stood there with my phone in my pocket contemplating and I was about to say 'what’s the number? I’ll dial it for you,' up until I saw the victim screaming.”
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 off with her phone.
“During that time she was very shook up. She was crying, she had her dog with her,” she said. “Luckily, a lot of her neighbors were rallying around her, you know, comforting her.”
Seconds after the robbery, Cruz said the suspect ran through the alley along with the teenage boy who asked to use her phone.
“They were young -- the one who approached me was very young,” she said. “My son is 14 years old and I confused him for his friend.”
Chicago police issued community alerts warning neighbors about the crime. At least 14 robberies have been reported in the late evening and early morning hours in Lake View since early November. Three of the crimes happened Thursday evening ten minutes apart.
“All you can do is be on alert; keep your phone in your pocket, you know; don’t carry so much money; keep your debit; no cash,” Cruz said.
Police believe the same suspects may be responsible for some of these robberies.
“You have to be very alert of your surroundings now. As women, take precaution self-defense, pepper spray, whatever you can, scream, fall to the ground,” Cruz said. “Everything can be replaced, just not your life.”
Here's where other robberies have been reported across Lake View in the past month:
- 700 block of West Buena Avenue on Nov. 8 at 12 a.m.
- 1000 block of West Diversey on Nov. 8 at 1:19 a.m.
- 3400 block of North Clark on Nov. 8 at 2:10 a.m.
- 2900 block of North Broadway on Nov. 8 at 2:50 a.m.
- 3200 block of North Broadway on Nov. 8 at 2:55 a.m.
- 800 block of West Wolfram Street on Nov. 17 at 9:20 p.m.
- 3900 block of North Janssen Avenue on Nov. at 10:05 p.m.
- 1800 block of West Wellington Avenue on Nov. 28 at 1 a.m.
- 1000 block of West Barry Avenue on Dec. 1 at 8:15 p.m.
- 1600 block of West Cornelia Avenue on Dec. 1 at 8:53 p.m.
- 1400 block of West Cornelia Avenue on Dec. 1 at 8:55 p.m.
- 3900 block of North Southport Avenue on Dec. 2 at 5:10 p.m.
- 1300 block of West School Street on Dec. 2 at 5:23 p.m.
- 1300 block of West Grace Street on Dec. 2 at 5:35 p.m.