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Good samaritan helps nab sexual-assault suspect in Uptown


Jason Gurneau

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Updated: January 11, 2013 6:20AM

Tom Schabow said he heard the muffled cries for help, knew there was a struggle and saw the look of the man trying to flee police on a bike early Sunday morning in Uptown.

“He just had that look of a crazy person,” Schabow said.

And that man had just steered the bicycle in Schabow’s direction. So Schabow said he reacted — by grabbing the man and throwing him off the bike to the ground.

“I think he was just as surprised as I was,” Schabow said. “It’s not like I’m a fighter. I was in one fight, and that was in T-ball.”

Jason Gurneau, 32, of the 1000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, was charged with the sexual assault and robbery of a 32-year-old woman.

Gurneau also faces aggravated battery charges and two counts of resisting a police officer. He’s expected to appear in bond court Monday.

He was arrested in the 4400 block of North Sheridan about 1:40 a.m. Police said they had received a call of a sexual assault in progress.

Schabow, a server at a Gold Coast restaurant, said he had just returned to his home in the same block after work when he heard a woman outside the window. He said it sounded like she was saying “help.”

“You could tell it was muffled and she was, like, struggling,” Schabow said.

He said he went outside and saw a bicycle in front of the building next door. He yelled out, and that’s when he said he saw a man look up briefly before getting back on top of a woman.

Schabow said he called 911 and called for his roommate to come downstairs.The police arrived quickly, and he began to wave them down.

Police said the suspect was told to stop, but he refused. That’s when the man jumped on his bike and started to ride his way, Schabow said.

“I knew he did something to this woman,” Schabow said.

He saw the man carrying a purse, and that’s part of the reason he stopped him. But Schabow also credited police in the area for having a “huge” presence and “amazing” response time.

He said they got right on top of the fleeing suspect as soon as he was off the bike.

“If it was not for them pulling up, I don’t know if there would have been a different outcome,” Schabow said.

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