Man aiding North Center driver saves girl from alleged molester

Suspect Richard Velasco, 23 (Chicago Police Dept.)

August 15, 2013 9:51:30 AM PDT
A man who lives in the North Center neighborhood is being called a hero after police say he saved a 14-year-old girl from being sexually assaulted.

The story starts with a broken-down van. It was around 10 p.m. Monday in the 1800-block of West Cuyler when a white van driven by 23-year-old Richard Velasco broke down. Investigators say Velasco had the girl with him after he met her at a party.

When the van broke down , a Good Samaritan neighbor came out to help move the van to the side of the road.

But as the neighbor was assisting, the girl inside secretly got his attention and said .."help ME, hide me"- saying that Velasco was trying to rape her.

The hero neighbor's quick thinking paid off. After bringing the girl into his home, he called 911. Police arrived before Velasco could figure out what was going on, and now faces a sex abuse charge and an attempted criminal sex assault charge.

Police say the teenage girl is physically alright and back home with her family.

Velasco was ordered held on $300,000 bond and will next appear in court Sept. 3, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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