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Suspect Arrested in South Side Sexual Assaults

By Katelyn Six, Section Editor for Block Beat (six1@uic.edu)

A 26-year-old man was arrested in Indiana on Tuesday and is undergoing interrogation for his suspected participation in a series of rapes that occurred on the South Side of Chicago. News of four sexual assaults committed within a three-hour span of time sent residents of the South Shore neighborhood, as well as other Chicagoans, into a state of fear and dismay. With a potential suspect in custody, a sense of relief is washing over many people in local South Side areas.

“It’s a relief because I walk. I take public transportation to school and to work, so it’s a relief to know somebody is in custody,” Shanice Roberts, Fernwood resident, said. With a high percentage of students at the University of Illinois at Chicago being commuters from all areas, including the South Side, news of these assaults is cause for serious concern for students, especially students commuting to and from various parts of the City of Chicago early in the morning and late at night.

The first two attacks happened on Wednesday morning around 4:15 a.m., with the victims being a 43-year-old woman and her 22-year-old daughter. Both mother and daughter were held at knifepoint by the assailant and were raped in their home on the 10300 block of South Emerald Avenue.

Afterward, the perpetrator was scared away from the third victim’s home by a dog barking and a girl screaming. CBS Chicago reported the girl’s parents said, “she woke up to the sound of her puppy barking, and saw the man in her closet. When she screamed, the man dove out the window as her father ran into the room.”

Around 7 a.m. the suspect pulled a 14-year-old girl into a nearby yard. Sarah Shulte, ABC7 News reporter, wrote, “He sexually assaulted her using the same kitchen knife he stole from the first victim’s home.”

The suspect has not been formally charged, but police said he does have a criminal record spanning a decade. Chicago police are awaiting the suspect’s extradition from Indiana in order to proceed.

One of the ways community members are spreading the word about these crimes is through the distribution of police sketches of the suspected man in custody. Miguel Fuentes of the Chicago Guardian Angels explained to the Huffington Post why it is so critical to disseminate this information. “It’s not like the guy’s going to all of a sudden find Jesus, and heal himself,” said Fuentes. “This guy’s going to attack again, so we need to stop him before he does.”

UIC Police strongly recommends being attentive and aware of your surroundings at all times, but especially when walking alone or after dark. “Use all your senses to be alert for danger, and when walking alone, don’t wear headphones or earbuds,” UIC Police advise.

For more information visit:

ABC 7 News Report on South Side Sexual Assaults: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local/chicago_news&id=9280618

CBS Local Report on Town Hall Meeting Over Serial Rapist: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/10/12/south-side-residents-hold-town-hall-meeting-over-serial-rapist/

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