Couple gets carjacked in Joliet

March 12, 2009 2:51:10 PM PDT
A Wyoming couple is planning to head home after getting carjacked in Joliet this week. Ken and Ruth Gutshall were on their way to visit family in Pennsylvania when Ken offered help to a stranger, only to get assaulted and lose his car.

But the response of the community to the plight of the seniors has them thanking higher powers for the experience.

There have more supplies than the Gutshalls can carry in boxes. Their suitcases and cameras were stolen Tuesday morning when 77-year old Ken was packing their car to resume their journey after spending the night in Joliet.

"He put me to the grounds and put his knee in my back, took my wallet, jumped in the car and took off," said Ken Gutshall, carjacking victim.

Ken used his cell phone to call the police and his wife, 81-year-old Ruth, knows her husband's a kidder but this was serious.

"When he first told me that, i thought he was joking, because he loves to joke," said Ruth Gutshall.

They came to a Bob Evans restaurant to plot their next move. A good Samaritan overheard them, took up a collection, and contacted Will County senior services, who moved the Gutshalls to a different hotel, and got them medicine for Ken's diabetes and a little more cash. The police paid for the Wednesday night stay.

"I've never in my 12 years with the Joliet Police Department seen the agency step up at this level and really try to make these people feel like the people of Joliet do care a lot, and we will step up to show you that this is a good community," said Detective Tony Nowak, Joliet Police.

The Gutshalls' savior wishes only to be known as Karen, a cancer survivor, and says she couldn't help but help. Bill Jacobs Chevrolet in Plainfield even offered the couple a vehicle for the day. But they're heading home, grateful for their encounter with the big city.

"This experience was very bad and very emotional for me, but the bright side is to see the people who are so generous and loving and kind that they would even help to support somebody who is a stranger," said Ruth.

"I had some prayers with God, and I realized I had to forgive this guy. And I would like to see him become a Christian. I'd give him a hug and even tell him I love him," said Ken.