Hyde Park shaken by string of assaults, robberies

By Rhema Hokama

Investigators from the Chicago Police Department announced Tuesday that they believe four robberies and assaults committed in Hyde Park on Monday night are related incidents.

The incidents occurred at

8:42 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 9:38 p.m., and 10 p.m. in the area bounded by 53rd and 56th streets and Dorchester and Woodlawn Avenues.

At least one of the victims is affiliated with the U of C, said Marcel Bright, a news affairs officer with the Area One Detective Division.

The timing and the location of the incidents and the victims’ descriptions of the offender suggest that the same man perpetrated all four attacks, said Bob Richards of the Southeast Chicago Commission, adding that detectives are working with the victims to put together a composite sketch of the suspect.

All four victims’ descriptions of the assailant were similar, Richards said. “Investigators are under the assumption that this is the same individual.”

The four incidents were all robberies or attempted robberies in which the offender threatened his victims with a weapon, Richards said.

In the first incident, at

8:42 p.m., the offender implied that he had a weapon, Richards said. “At that time, the intended female victim screamed and, at that time, he fled,” he added. “In the second incident, a woman was walking, and the offender pushed a hard object into her back. He took some cash and then took her to a parking lot and assaulted her.”

The third and fourth incidents were also robberies in which the suspect fled.

Detectives believe that the offender does not have a prior criminal record within the neighborhood.

“Prior to this, we don’t think there have been any incidents involving an individual of this description, and definitely none afterward,” Richards said.

The victims identified the offender as a black man in his 20s, between 5’10” and 6’1”, and 170 to 190 pounds, according to a safety alert issued by the CPD on Tuesday. They each noted that the suspect was wearing a black jacket with a fur-trimmed hood.

Investigators will compare the similarities between the incidents to assess whether the same perpetrator was involved in each attack, Bright said.

“Criminals tend to follow the same patterns in their behavior. The detectives would consider what did and what he said, and then look at the similarities between other cases,” Bright said.