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Witnesses chase down mugger on Magnificent Mile

Richard Mendozwas arrested for purse-snatching incident Friday November 23 2012 Chicago. | Chicago Police photo

Richard Mendoza was arrested for a purse-snatching incident on Friday, November 23, 2012 in Chicago. | Chicago Police photo

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Updated: December 25, 2012 6:19AM

Tourist Chris Frieden treated his family to a traditional Chicago Thanksgiving week break— a little shopping, a little sightseeing, a nice hotel and the chance to watch him chase a mugger down the Magnificent Mile.

Frieden, 44, of Indianapolis, jumped from his car and teamed up with two other Good Samaritans to catch a purse snatcher who attacked a woman downtown early Friday morning.

Police say they might not have caught the Black Friday bad guy without civilian help.

“I was driving by when I heard a loud shriek and I immediately knew something was wrong,” said Frieden as he recounted his heroics alongside Angela Deleon, a garage attendant who dialed 911, and Mike Hochhauser, a downtown resident who led the chase.

The two men chased the alleged mugger — later identified by police as parolee Richard Mendoza, 31 — from the sidewalk in the first block of East Erie to Ontario and Michigan after he came up behind a 44-year-old woman, choked her, grabbed her purse, pushed her to the ground and kicked her.

The mugger thought he’d eluded them by ducking into an alley, but when he emerged and hailed a passing cab, Frieden and Hochhauser were waiting. They stopped the cab and trapped him until police arrived.

Hochhauser said he was “dragging” a little due to his heavy eating on Thanksgiving, but was glad he could help the victim, who suffered a black eye in the attack.

Police Officer Patrick Bryant said the Good Samaritans’ actions were “not recommended,” but noted that the police’s job would be easier if more citizens followed their lead. He repeated the familiar police refrain for holiday shoppers to have their wits about them when shopping downtown.

Mendoza, of the 1600 block of North Talman, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail Saturday for strong arm robbery and battery.

He has four prior convictions for robberies and burglaries, and was likely trying to feed a drug habit, police say. He was wearing a court-mandated electronic monitoring bracelet on his ankle and had stuffed $200 cash into the cuff of a “Voltron” shirt he was wearing when he was arrested, they added.

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