CHICAGO — A 10-year-old boy on his way to school Thursday morning bent down to tie his shoe and spotted a man coming toward him, prosecutors said.
The boy got scared and took off running down an alley between Sangamon and Morgan streets in the Englewood neighborhood with 57-year-old George Graves, of the 7100 block of South Morgan Avenue, allegedly chasing after him, prosecutors said.
Graves never caught up with the "scared" boy, who was seen running away by two Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation workers.
Alfreda Clark and Mary Baggett were surveying a nearby lot for the city when Clark spotted the boy dart between two vacant buildings. Clark said she tracked the boy down and planned to tell him not to play in empty buildings.
"Then I looked at the little boy, and he had fear all over his face," Clark said.
She said she asked him twice if he was okay.
"He said, 'He chasing me,'" Clark said.
Clark and Baggett said that is when a man emerged from the alley, glanced at them and continued walking. Baggett called 911, and the boy told the women that was the man who had been chasing him.
Baggett and Clark followed the man in their car briefly to get a description to give police. Then, they said they took the boy to his sister's house.
Baggett said she is happy the two were able to do something to help the boy so they would not "see his face on the news," and Baggett said the boy's family was glad to know he was safe.
"His dad was really, really happy," Baggett said.
Moments after police sent out a description of the suspect, Officer Aloysius Reeves and Sgt. James Smith spotted Graves walking down West 71st Street. They took arrested Graves and brought him to 71st and Halsted streets, where the boy positively identified Graves as the man who chased him.
Graves, whose criminal record includes a 1985 aggravated battery to a child, was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping by force.
A Cook County judge ordered him held on $250,000 bond Thursday.
A public defender representing Graves said he is vehemently denying the allegations.