Women mugged, beaten with bat in Bucktown

April 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Both women were struck in the head with the bat, and the suspect remains on the loose.

Chicago police say the attack happened around 3:30 a.m. this morning in the 1800-block of N. Damen on the city's Northwest Side.

Bucktown is a community that has gone through a great deal of gentrification over the last 15 years.

Residents in the area say they are comfortable walking any time of the day or night and usually feel very safe. Many cannot believe that two young women were attacked and robbed early this morning.

"This is a really wonderful area and kind of hard to imagine, but it's Chicago," said area resident Jimmy DeLorenzo.

Investigators say the attacker hit both women in the head with a baseball bat before taking their purses.

One of the victims, 24-year-old Stacy Jurich, reportedly was able to give police a vague description of the man. She was in serious condition Friday night.

Police and fire department personnel went to her home this afternoon to remove her dog from the house. The victim's uncle took the dog and did not want to talk to reporters on camera, but said the victim was in the hospital with her family at her side.

"That troubles me because my daughter and her husband and obviously their new baby live here and take late night walks because the baby doesn't sleep much," said resident Barbara King. "We need to do something about that."

The second victim is a 23-year-old graduate student at University of Illinois at Chicago from Northern Ireland who lives in the 600-block of S. Halsted. She is identified as Natasha McShane and was in critical condition Friday night.

A UIC spokesperson says the young woman's home institution is a university in Dublin and that UIC is in communication with the school regarding the attack.

"It's shocking that that would happen in this neighborhood," said resident Nicole Alexander.

Both victims remained hospitalized Friday evening. One is in critical condition, the other in serious but stable.

Police have no one in custody in the ongoing investigation involving Area 5 detectives.

They are looking at surveilllance cameras in the area for any information that can lead them to an arrest.

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