Good Samaritans chase down River North robber who attacked woman - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Good Samaritans chase down River North robber who attacked woman

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Richard D. Mendoza Richard D. Mendoza
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A robber who attacked a woman in the River North neighborhood Friday morning, grabbing her and pushing her to the ground and kicking her after she struggled with him, is in police custody after two witnesses chased after him and officers grabbed him from a taxicab as he tried to flee the area.

About 8:19 a.m., the woman was on the sidewalk at 55 E. Erie St., when the robber came up from behind, began choking her and grabbed her purse, according to police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez.

The 44-year-old woman struggled with the robber, who then pushed her to the ground and began kicking her, Perez said. The man, 31-year-old Richard D. Mendoza then grabbed her purse and ran off, eastbound on Erie.

Several witnesses called police, Perez said. Two men who were among the witnesses then chased after the robber who was running from the scene. They saw him toss the purse in a nearby alley and he then got into a taxicab near Erie and Michigan Avenue, Perez said.

Michael Hochhauser was one of those good Samaritans. He stepped out of his building and turned to look at the commotion.

"Someone on the ground curled up in a ball almost, up against one of the pillars of our building and a guy viciously stomping her with his foot," Hochhauser explains of what he saw.

He quickly realized what was happening.

"I screamed, ‘Hey, stop! What are you doing?' He kind of looked up, grabbed her purse and took off. So, I immediately started chasing him," says Hochhauser.

The other witness, Kris Frieden, was checking out of a hotel with his family when he saw the chase.

"I just opened the door and got out of the car and ran across the road, trying to dodge the traffic to help Michael who was in the process of going after him," says Frieden.

Other witnesses also jumped in.

"I started running behind them," Angela De Leon explains. I wanted to see where they were heading and I had 911 on the phone."

While the suspect jumped into a cab on Michigan Ave in an attempt to flee, Michael and Kris jumped in front and stalled it, as the other man flagged down police officers who were nearby.

The officers came over and pulled Mendoza out of the taxicab. He was taken into custody and charged with one count of felony robbery, police said. The woman's purse was recovered from the alley, police said.

The victim was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was being treated for bruising and swelling to the face, neck and head, Perez said.

"She got approached from behind and she ended up with a concussion," Chicago Police Officer Patrick Bryant says. "She never saw any of this, who knows if she could pick him out. But, all the witnesses saw this, stepped up and did their job."

Police say Mendoza has been convicted twice with robbery and twice with burglary before. Officers recommend if you're out shopping to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close and in front of you.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

 

Mendoza is scheduled to appear in Central Bond Court Saturday morning.

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