Community donations help 81-year-old pizza delivery man buy new car after Jefferson Park carjacking

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Saturday, April 20, 2024
Donations help elderly pizza delivery man buy new car after carjacking
Community donations have helped 81-year-old pizza delivery man Ernie Aimone buy a new car after he was carjacked in Jefferson Park earlier this month.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It was shopping day Friday for 81-year-old Vietnam War veteran Ernie Aimone.

He bought a new set of wheels to replace the car that was stolen while he was delivering pizza last week.

Several teenagers punched him and then took off in his vehicle. When word got out about the carjacking, support came pouring in.

"People reaching out like this... so much love in the community," Aimone said. "It's very appreciative."

I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't able to deliver pizzas
Ernie Aimone, carjacking victim

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $61,000 for Aimone so far.

"It's really nice to see everyone coming together to support my Dad," his daughter Robyn Aimone said.

Others in the community have dropped off donations at the restaurant Aimone drives for, Joe's on Higgins.

"People are sending checks in the mail," Frank Demonte with Joe's On Higgins said. "It's pretty overwhelming... the support."

Chicago police brought the case to the attention of the Gladstone Park Chamber of commerce, which is spearheading the fundraising effort.

"The amount of people stepping up, it shows you there's a lot more good to offset the evil that's out there," said Dan Ciolino with the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce.

Aimone has delivered Pizza for Joe's for four decades and is well known in the community.

"I seen him here every day," Chicago Police Officer Peter Palka said. "He's a dedicated employee, so I said I gotta help him. That's my calling."

After a short police chase on an interstate, the teenagers who stole Aimone's car crashed. State police took a 15-year-old into custody and they are still looking for three other suspects.

"You hear so much in the news about our city. It's really nice to see how our city can come together," said Dan Brasil with City Volkswagen.

Thanks to the donations and the dealership's help, Aimone chose a brand-new Volkswagon Tiguan, and he's planning to go back to delivering pizzas as soon as possible.

"I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't able to deliver pizzas."

The dealership has promised they will service Aimone's new vehicle for life. They said he's been through enough and doesn't need anything else to worry about.