Runners on edge after recent attacks

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff WLS logo
Monday, October 8, 2018
Runners on edge after recent attacks
Police say predators prey on distracted people exercising alone.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two high profile murders this summer and several attacks in Chicago have runners here anxious. Authorities tell the I-Team predators are mainly looking for people who are alone and distracted.

Reports show most attacks are against women, but recently Michael Masterson was jumped and beaten during his early morning run on the lakefront path in Lincoln Park, police said. The 79-year-old former marathon runner says Rokas Ablacinskas grabbed his neck and told him he was going to kill him.

The 21-year-old is charged with aggravated battery and attempted first-degree murder.

Whether running in the dark in the city or on a path in the suburbs, authorities say there are precautions you should follow.

Law enforcement advises runners to follow these guidelines when jogging alone.

Chicago Police recently put out this safety video for runners. The department says it has officers on bike and foot along the lake as both a deterrent and to help anyone in need. Deputies with the DuPage Sheriff's Office told the I-Team they routinely patrol the Illinois Prairie Path on bikes and ATVs.

Even if you are prepared, police say there is some risk every time you hit the running trail alone.

That was unfortunately the case for University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts and Washington D.C. jogger Wendy Martinez. Both were murdered this summer while running alone in broad daylight. Their alleged attackers are in custody.