BUCKTOWN — Neighbors are on high alert after a 16-year-old ward of the state allegedly forced himself into a Bucktown home Sunday and raped and kidnapped a 43-year-old woman.
Nancy West, an employment recruiter, lives near where Marco Cervantes allegedly sneaked into the backyard of a house in the 2100 block of West Moffat Street and forced his way in.
West became aware of the incident late Sunday afternoon after checking the Bucktown Neighborhood Watch Facebook Page, where news of a sexual assault was posted as an update around 2:20 p.m.
"I was creeped out," West said. "I thought about reaching out to [the victim] but what do you say? 'I'm sorry you were raped?"
Shuddering, West called the crime "very scary, bold and unthinkable in a lot of ways."
Sherri Janousky, 55, lives in the 2000 block of West Moffat and said her initial reaction was that she's "glad we have dogs and a security system."
Janousky and her partner hosted a party with Energy Impact Illinois Monday when the conversation among neighbors turned to the prior day's incident.
"You just don't expect something like this to happen in middle of the day," Janousky said.
Gesturing to her partner, Janousky said, "I worry about her."
Most of the neighbors in the 2100 block of West Moffat were already aware of the incident by the time Steve Jensen, founder of the Bucktown Neighborhood Watch Facebook page and president of the Bucktown Community Organization, and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) went door-to-door Monday with a printed Community Safety Alert that was first issued by email to Waguespack's constituents.
Jensen and Waguespack personally stopped by 70 residences on Moffat Street and neighboring streets like Leavitt Street and Cortland avenues.
Waguespack said via text message that the outreach efforts went well and some residents "were glad to see us at the door and thankful to hear [Cervantes] was caught by CPD. Others asked how to get involved."
According to prosecutors, Cervantes entered the home with a paintball gun, ordered the woman into her bedroom and demanded that she perform oral sex, but she refused.
The teenager allegedly became angry when she would not enter the correct password into her laptop. Cervantes then sexually assaulted the woman, prosecutors said.
Afterward, he kidnapped the woman in her BMW, though let her out a short time later, according to prosecutors. Police later caputured Cervantes near Roosevelt Road and Western Avenue.
Referring to Cervantes as having "no morality and is wired incorrectly," Jensen, an IT consultant, said, "People are feeling unsafe, and they are in shock."
"This speaks to the current situation that the whole city is in. There's not a lot of law enforcement deterrents out there," said Jensen.
The Bucktown Neighborhood Watch Facebook page where the news broke has 483 members and added more than 40 new people in the last 24 hours, Jensen said.