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Police questioning person of interest in attempted kidnapping in West Loop

Another victim comes forward after attempted West Loop kidnapping
Another victim comes forward after attempted West Loop kidnapping 02:39

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago Police are questioning a person of interest, after a man tried to kidnap a woman in the city's West Loop but was thwarted by some good Samaritans. 

Police confirmed Tuesday that they were questioning a person of interest in connection to the attempted kidnapping of a 45-year-old woman on Sunday near Sangamon and Adams streets.

It was at least the second time in recent weeks that there had been a kidnapping attempt in the area of Sangamon Street between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard, and a woman said she was also attacked by the same man a short time earlier Sunday on Roosevelt Road.

Chicago police on Monday released surveillance photos of the suspect in Sunday's kidnapping attempt. He is seen in a sweatshirt and patterned pajama pants. 

Surveillance images show a man wanted in a kidnapping attempt in the West Loop on Sept. 25, 2022 Chicago Police

Neighbors who live in the building above where this happened were woken up by the screams of a woman who was trying to get away from her alleged attempted kidnappers.

Video capturing those terrifying moments shows what appears to be a dark red van driving away. Neighbors tell us they believe a Lyft driver and passenger interceded before the unimaginable could happen.

Good Samaritans help prevent 2nd kidnapping attempt in West Loop 00:57

Police say before this video was taken, the offender approached the 45-year-old victim, grabbed both of her arms, and attempted to pull her inside of a maroon minivan.

Police release photos of suspect in attempted kidnapping in West Loop 02:04

Another woman says she was a victim of the same man

Meanwhile, another victim of the same attacker has come forward and told her story to CBS 2's Tara Molina on Tuesday. She spoke out to warn others to stay aware of your surroundings -- and if something seems off get out of the area.

The woman wasn't comfortable sharing her name or showing her face on TV, but wants you to hear her story. 

"I'm happy that I was able to defend myself and that I wasn't hurt," the woman said as she stood a stone's throw from where she was attacked Sunday morning. "It was very upsetting."

She said she was also a victim of the very same man who appeared in the surveillance images released by police.

"He was wearing the white shirt," she said. "He was not wearing those pants."

The woman walked us through exactly what happened; what she escaped Sunday while walking down Roosevelt Road at 8:40 a.m. Sunday.

"I crossed the bridge and I noticed a man at the van, and he had his private parts exposed," she said.

The woman said she thought the man was urinating, and she hurried past. But she said the danger followed her.

"I turned to look and he was like coming toward me; like lunging toward me - saying things like, 'Ooh baby,' like kind of like lustful comments," the woman said.

The woman said the man grabbed her and pulled her in toward him.

"When he moved his head, all I could do was like bite his neck -- so I bit his neck, and he like moaned like he was like turned on. And so I started punched him and I tried to bite as hard as I could, and on the second bite, he let go" she said. "He just started backing away into the truck and he was like, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry -- I had to.'"

Later on, the woman learned there was another attack in the West Loop just after hers – involving the same van and same van she'd identified.

Chicago police aren't connecting those dots for us yet.

"I hope that he is prosecuted, and he is kept away from women and people on the street that he can harm," the woman said.

Attempted abduction reported in same area in August

Almost a month ago on Aug. 24, a man was walking his dog at the corner of Adams and Sangamon streets when he spotted what looked like a woman in distress. The man sprayed the would-be kidnapper and three other people in the getaway car with bear spray. They took off shortly afterward. 

That woman was not physically harmed. Police have not said if the two incidents are connected.

"Now this has become very scary," said Julie Darling with West Loop Community Organization. "I'm not one to be an alarmist, but at this point it does very much scare me. It's very unnerving, and I'm really urging my neighbors and my friends to walk together, carry some sort of self-defense, pepper spray, mace. The first line of self-defense is being aware." 

In both cases someone was there to step in and do something and cameras were rolling. Neighbors worry that won't always be the case. 

CBS 2 did reach out to building management to see if they would give us that video. We are waiting to hear back. 

Police have not said if the two incidents are connected, and though they found the minivan, they have not made any arrests.

Meantime, community leaders are calling for more police patrols in the area to help women who live in the neighborhood feel safe. They're also asking for volunteers to help patrol the area.

"There are still no answers. We have yet another woman that has been traumatized and don't know where to turn for help," said Eric Russell, president of Tree Of Life Justice League.

"When you think about what's going on in the city of Chicago, there is no such thing as political. You've got to put the people first. We're people," said West Side activist Zerlina Smith-Members.

West Loop activists want more patrols after two kidnapping attempts 01:35
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