Dog walker hailed as hero for intervening when group tries to abduct woman in West Loop

CHICAGO (CBS) — A West Loop man’s gut told him something was wrong when he saw a woman being yanked into a car early Wednesday – and indeed something was.

The man was walking his dog at the time on what up to that point had been the start of a routine day, and he took his chances and ran to free the woman. As CBS 2’s Marybel González reported Wednesday night, the man may have risked his life to safe someone else’s.

“It’s not about being a hero,” the dog walker said. “It’s about being a neighbor.”

The man doesn’t want to be called a hero ­– and he doesn’t even want to share his name publicly. But some West Loop residents are calling him a hero anyway.

West Loop Community Organization board member Judie Darling is one of them.

“We’re grateful to him and his quick thinking,” she said.

At 7:26 a.m. Wednesday, the man was walking his dog at the corner of Adams and Sangamon streets when he spotted what looked like a woman in distress.

“I saw him grab her on the shoulder and he said, ‘Hey baby, you’re looking good,’ or something like that, and tried to get her into the car,” the man said, “and by that time, I was yelling and running across the street.”

The man could tell something about the situation was off right away.

“What looked off is her body language as I turned, and that she obviously didn’t know this person,” she said.

The man then sprang into action.

“So I charged across the street, and about right here (in a driveway), the car was parked – and I started yelling at him as I was crossing the street,” the man said, “and I could tell he was surprised – he was flustered already – and so I just pulled out my pepper spray.”

The man sprayed the would-be kidnapper, and three other people in the getaway car, with bear spray. They took off shortly afterward

González: “That’s very brave of you, because you don’t know how that could have turned out.”

Good Samaritan: “I didn’t think of it at the time, but it’s what I would have wanted somebody to do if I was in trouble.”

Police were called, and the woman was safe late Wednesday. But residents are on alert, and say they have been calling on police for more officers in the area.

“We were informed a little over a year ago that we would be receiving 12 additional officers for the neighborhood to help with the growth; the infrastructure; the buildup that’s going on,” Darling said, “and we haven’t received that yet.”

Meanwhile, the dog walker said she has been in touch with the woman who was almost abducted and her family, who said they are grateful for his quick actions.

“These people were trying to take her away? Take her away from her family?” he said. “I mean, we’ve got to stand up to that – in any neighborhood.”

The description of the suspects is very vague. The dog walker said he recalls them being in a red car.

We did reach out to police about extra patrols in the neighborhood. We had not heard back late Wednesday night.

Police also have not made any arrests in the case.

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