81-year-old veteran, pizza delivery man carjacked in Jefferson Park: 'They sucker punched me'

State police arrest teen suspect after crash on expressway, victim says

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Saturday, April 13, 2024
81-year-old pizza delivery man carjacked on Northwest Side: CPD
An 81-year-old pizza delivery man was assaulted and carjacked Wednesday in Jefferson Park, Chicago police said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An elderly pizza delivery man said he was robbed and carjacked earlier this week on the city's Northwest Side.

The 81-year-old victim, Ernie Aimone, said he was crossing the street Wednesday in the Jefferson Park neighborhood after delivering a pizza when he says a man walked up from behind, and the next thing he knew he was on the ground.

He spoke exclusively with ABC7 on Friday about the attack.

"They said, 'gimme the keys, gimme the keys,'" Aimone said. "And they sucker punched me from behind, hit me in the face. I was afraid for my life."

Aimone said he didn't fight back. He stayed face down in the street and listened as they took off in his car.

Chicago police said the crime happened just after 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 5300 block of North Ludlam Avenue, and confirmed the victim was punched in the back of the head and his car was stolen.

He's been loyal to Joe's for 40 years. He served our country. He deserves our support in his time of need.
Dan Ciolino, Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce

Hours later, state police were able to spot the car, a 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe, on an expressway.

After a chase, the car crashed, leaving major damage. Police arrested one teenage suspect and are still looking for others.

SEE ALSO | Group robs woman in Jefferson Park, returns to beat her after no one stops to help: VIDEO

Aimone has delivered pizza for Joe's on Higgins for the last 40 years.

"He's like family to us," said Frank Demonte with Joe's on Higgins. "He's seen me grow up from very young. He worked for my Dad."

"Ernie's very special to us. Always has been," said Gina Demonte with Joe's on Higgins.

Many customers request Aimone specifically to deliver their pizza. He's also a Vietnam War veteran, so when word got out about the carjacking, many people in the community offered to help.

"He's like a local legend," said Dan Ciolino with the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce. "He's been loyal to Joe's for 40 years. He served our country. He deserves our support in his time of need."

"It could have been a lot worse," the victim's daughter Robyn Aimone said. "I don't know what I would do without him."

An experience like what Ernie Aimone went through would be enough to convince many people to quit their job. Not Aimone though. He said as soon as he gets a car again, he plans to come right back and continue delivering pizzas.

"I got a daughter and a son," Ernie said. "I gotta live for them."

The Gladsone Park Chamber of Commerce has started a gofundme to help support Ernie.