Prosecutors: Woman sought help from fire official charged in attack
By SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERY AND JASON FREEMAN firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com January 8, 2013 7:18PM
Updated: January 8, 2013 7:26PM
A Tinley Park woman who was beaten during a home invasion early Saturday ran to her neighbor’s condominium unit for help, not knowing that the neighbor — a former Chicago Ridge fire official — was her alleged attacker, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Gary Swiercz, who according to officials has since retired as Chicago Ridge’s deputy fire chief, was wearing a ski mask during the alleged attack, prosecutors said, and the woman didn’t recognize him before she managed to escape.
Swiercz, 49, has been charged with attempted murder, home invasion, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated attempted criminal sexual assault and residential burglary, police said.
Prosecutors sought Tuesday to have his $150,000 bail denied or increased after he was released from custody Monday, but a Cook County judge denied the motion. Swiercz is subject to electronic monitoring, is staying in Worth and has been ordered to stay away from the condo in the 8100 block of 168th Place where the alleged attack occurred, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said Swiercz broke into the woman’s condo wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife, rope, zip ties and duct tape and then threatened to slit her throat. Prosecutors said he also was carrying an 8-inch sex toy and lubricant.
He held his victim’s hands together, prosecutors said, as he led her from her living room to the kitchen where he forced her up against a kitchen cabinet while she was screaming. Swiercz threw his victim to the ground, and court records allege he slammed her head on the tiled kitchen floor three times.
A struggle ensued, and the attacker fled and later was arrested in the parking lot, police said.
The woman was treated for minor injuries, police said.
The two had no prior relationship, prosecutors said.
Chicago Ridge Fire Department officials said Monday that Swiercz, also a former fire chief for Worth, had retired as deputy fire chief. He is next due in court Feb. 7.
Contributing: Staff reports