Woman reports Wicker Park sex assault

September 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) It happened in the 1300-block of North Wolcott Avenue just before 4 a.m.

Chicago Police investigators say they started questioning a person of interest Thursday morning. Sources close to the investigation say this man was located after police canvassed the area and a person that was fitting the description of the offender was picked up.

Despite the latest development, Wicker Park residents like Ada Laluz are still on edge.

"In this area, I mean, I didn't think I was going to hear anything about this, about rape or anything. I have a child myself. I have to be careful now," said Ada Laluz, victim's neighbor.

It's been that way in this West Side neighborhood of teardowns and condo conversions ever since Thursday's early morning sexually assault of a 28-year-old woman.

"A female walking alone, I think, in any neighborhood, that's very risky. This is a good neighborhood, but there are problems. I think there was a shooting last year in this neighborhood a few blocks away. So as far as the neighborhood, I mean, there's great people of all sorts," said Steve Stern, neighborhood resident.

The victim tells police the attack happened just before 4 a.m. Thursday morning as she walked on Wolcott Avenue near North Avenue. Detectives say it was as the Chicago woman got close to her destination that a knife-wielding man targeted her.

And although Grand Central Area detectives say they are questioning a person of interest, an unidentified man who was taken into custody almost immediately after the attack, a spokesperson for the Chicago Guardian Angels says, until a suspect is charged, his group plans safety patrols for the area.

"Don't think it can happen in your community, because it happens everywhere. That's when you become a victim when you let your guard down. So that community at the same time needs to be on alert," said Thomas Hunt, Chicago Guardian Angels.

Chicago Guardian Angels groups say they plan to have several patrols in the area Thursday evening. They will also be handing out leaflets to warn residents of the potential danger.

As for the ongoing investigation, authorities say no one should expect any charges Thursday.

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