Man charged with attempted kidnapping on Northwestern University's campus: Evanston police

ByEric Horng and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Man charged with attempted kidnapping on NU campus: police
James Saye has been charged with attempted kidnapping after an Evanston abduction attempt at Northwestern University, the police department said.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- A 28-year-old Chicago man has been charged after a reported attempted abduction on the Northwestern University campus on Saturday morning, Evanston police said.

Police said an Evanston woman flagged down an officer about 9:45 a.m. in the 600-block of University Place, and said a suspect had tried to push her into his vehicle. It's an area with heavy foot traffic.

She told the officer she was walking in that area, when the suspect approached her, but she was able to escape, and the suspect drove away.

The victim provided a description of the suspect and his vehicle, and two Evanston officers spotted the Ford Escape, police said. The Ford was traveling south on Chicago Avenue at Clark Street.

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Officers tried to stop the car, but it did not stop. A "low speed" chase began, south on Chicago to South Boulevard, before stopping, police said. Police then took the driver, James Saye, into custody.

Saye has been charged with attempted kidnapping and aggravated fleeing and eluding, police said on Sunday. He was also given several traffic citations.

Police said the victim was not injured, and is not affiliated with the university, adding that there is no prior connection between her and suspect.

Northwestern officials tweeted just after 10:45 a.m. that there were no additional suspects involved, and the campus was secure. Still, the incident unsettled some who live nearby.

"I mean, it's definitely scary, especially, like, so close by. I don't know, it just makes me more aware of like this stuff happens everywhere," said Sophie Milner-Gorvine.

Sophia Orlando, who attends Northwestern, also weighed in.

"Usually it's really safe, and usually we feel really safe. Yeah, so this is a little unexpected," Orlando said.

Avelina Sanchez also goes to Northwestern.

"I assume, since this is like a small town, and it's like a campus, and I'm always safe, but I definitely have to like start keeping in mind that these things happen and be careful about it," Sanchez said.

Police said charges are pending.

Saturday is Northwestern Dillo Day, according to the city of Evanston's website. The event is "the largest student-run music festival in the nation and a beloved Northwestern University tradition," the site said. Evanston police said the incident appears to be unrelated to that event.