Woodfield Mall incident: Sears' unprotected doors 'unusual' in today's world, security experts say

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- Things at Woodfield Mall were seemingly back to normal Monday aside from a few extra police cars and plywood covering the door that an unnamed 22-year-old man drove his SUV through on Friday.

The vehicle entered the mall by Sears and then drove into the common area, sending frightened shoppers scurrying Friday afternoon, according to Schaumburg police.

"I'm over at the Woodfield Mall and there's a maniac driving through the mall in a maroon SUV," a mall patron frantically told dispatchers in newly-released 911 calls from the incident.

911 calls in Woodfield Mall incident released
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Things at Woodfield Mall were seemingly back to normal Monday aside from a few extra police cars and plywood covering the door that an unnamed 22-year-old man drove his SUV through



Witnesses said the car eventually crashed into a pillar, just barely missing a group of children.

"Almost hit a bunch of kids on a little train," said witness Anthony Uchick, who was inside the mall at the time. "Crashed into Forever 21 and his front bumper ended up being in front of where Forever 21 is."

"All of a sudden I see the car coming through. I was about 10 feet away from the door. I was pretty scared at the same time," said Frank Alegria, who witnessed the incident Friday. He and his wife were not scared away; the couple returned to shop at Woodfield on Monday.

The 22-year-old man police say was behind the wheel was taken into custody Friday. Police said Saturday that the man remains in custody and was taken to AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute for treatment.

The duration of the man's treatment is unknown, but no charges will be authorized until his release, police said.

Three people were transported with very minor injuries, Schaumburg police said. No major injuries were reported, and police said no one was hurt by being struck by the car itself.

WATCH: Raw video of car driving through Woodfield Mall
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An SUV drove through Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg Friday afternoon.



All of the mall's entrances have barriers, called bollards, but the anchor stores such as Sears, Macy's and JCPenney do not. Woodfield Mall officials said the Sears property is owned by the department store company, leaving the decision on whether to have bollards up to them.

"I would say it would be a good idea to fortify some of these other entrances," said Judy Mascolino, who was shopping at the mall on Monday. "I think they will give it a second thought and if they want to keep a good reputation with their customers I'm sure they are going to have to put some safety measures in place."

WATCH: Raw video of arrest in Woodfield Mall
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A witness captured on video police arresting a man suspected to have driven through Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg on Friday.


Security experts say it's unusual for a mall not to have some type of protection near entrances in today's world. Bollards or other vehicle barriers have become standard at all places that attract large amounts of people.

"It's a physical type of preparation that can happen with construction," said Kenneth Bouche, chief operating officer of Hillard Heintze. "It was something that was done early after 9/11 in a lot of places to prevent this."

Sears issued a statement Monday afternoon:

"The safety and security of our associates and customers is of utmost importance. In light of Friday's event at the Woodfield Mall Sears store, we are reviewing the safety and security measures and protocols at our properties."

The Village of Schaumburg issued a statement on its Facebook page Monday evening saying, in part, that officials are regarding Friday's incident as an opportunity to review safety measures and emergency response efforts at the mall.
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