Safety meeting held on North Side after multiple sex assaults

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After three separate sex assaults on Chicago's North Side in recent weeks, people in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods held a safety meeting Monday night.

The Chicago Police Department called the meeting to gauge public perception about the recent attacks, and share advice on how to stay safe. Police reassured residents that overall crime statistics are down with over 300 officers patrolling the area.

"It's terrifying particularly after what he said tonight," said Kara Castaneda. "Knowing that there is a predator who in his words would really stop at nothing."

At midnight on Sunday, a woman was walking in the 1900-block of North Orchard Street about to enter a residence when a man approached her from behind with a knife and sexually assaulted her before running away with the woman's belongings.

On Thursday night, a woman was forced into the trunk of her own car at gunpoint and sexually assaulted in the 3700-block of North Fremont Street before police said her attacker drove 23 miles. The 24-year-old victim was able to escape from the trunk and call for help. She had minor injuries and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center for treatment.

The description of that attacker was very similar to that of a man sexually assaulted a 25-year-old woman in her car in the 1200-block of West Barry on Feb. 28. The attacker approached a woman who was walking to her car, forced her into her car at gunpoint, and sexually assaulted her. The offender fled on foot, police said.

"This was a predator who specifically was waiting to find a victim that he could take advantage of, the sexual assault that happened a week or so prior may be the same offender," said Chicago Police Commander Marc Buslik.

Police said although they do not think the most recent attack is related, they believe the two others are. Police are waiting for DNA evidence and surveillance video to track that suspect down.
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