Flash mob victim: ‘It just happened too quick’
BY KIM JANSSEN and DAN ROZEK Staff Reporters June 6, 2011 1:20PM
Krzysztof Wilkowski who was a victim of the weekend mob attack in the Streeterville area. | Facebook photo
Updated: August 3, 2011 4:24PM
They were enjoying a summer’s evening near the lakefront downtown — puffing on a cigar, out for a bike ride or a little window shopping.
But for victims of five “flash mob” robberies that came within an hour Saturday evening, the shock of being attacked in a touristy part of town was the same.
Suddenly surrounded by more than a dozen teens who snatched their possessions, the victims said they had no time to react.
“It was boom, like a swarm of insects,” said Krzysztof Wilkowski, a 34-year-old insurance agent from the northwest suburbs who was attacked by about 20 young men as he sat on his scooter in the 300 block of East Chicago.
“It just happened too quick. I didn’t even have time to be scared.”
He added: “It was broad daylight. It was perfect weather. People were jogging.”
Wilkowski was checking his phone when a group of teens approached, threw a baseball at his face and pounced around 7.30 p.m.
Grabbing at his cell phone, they knocked his helmet off and beat him down, but fled without loot after he fought them off.
“They were hitting me. I was hitting them back,” he said, though he recalled seeing one teen stop long enough to pick up the baseball that opened the attack.
“Everything was intact but my face,” said Wilkowski, who had bruises around both eyes and his nose, but didn’t require any hospital treatment. “How about if they had some weapons?,” he added.
Less than an hour later, a group of teens struck again on the same block, targeting 68-year-old Dr. Jack Singer, who was in town from Seattle for a medical conference.
“I know enough to know that you don’t know if a teenager in Chicago is armed or not,” said Singer, who was sitting on a bench smoking a cigar and writing an email on his iPad when a teen snatched the device and his phone.
The doctor, who was unhurt, flagged down a police car, and officers were soon driving him around the neighborhood with three other victims — a 42-year-old Japanese doctor who was beaten and had his iPod stolen, a 22-year-old Thai man whose backpack was snatched and Filipino nursing student Ryan Dancumos, 20.
Dancumos was cycling to Navy Pier on a bike his father had given him just a day earlier when he was punched and surrounded by teens who stole his phone, his wallet and his bike.
“I was scared because there were more than 10 people around me,” he said. “I didn’t know if they had knives.”
After touring the area for half an hour, the victims identified some of their attackers in an impromptu police line-up in the street, Singer said.
Praising the cops for their “incredible professionalism,” he said he was a regular visitor to Chicago but that he and his wife had noticed a change in the Magnificent Mile in the last couple of years.
“Friday night, Saturday night it was just wild with teenagers,” he said. “I talked to the police and they feel its out of control and they’re totally undermanned.”
Officers managed to get his stolen phone back, but his Ipad is “probably at the bottom of Lake Michigan,” he laughed.