COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Onlookers stood around Monday on a busy block of North Milwaukee Avenue "doing nothing" as a woman struggled with a man trying to rob her, Syed Ajmal said.
But Ajmal, a 25-year-old Schiller Park man and martial arts expert, stepped in — chasing the man and eventually holding him until police arrived.
"It's time for a change," Ajmal said, musing that he'd like to eventually become a cop. "If Chicago would fight back, this crime situation wouldn't be what it is. The police can only do so much."
Ajmal said he had just gotten off work Monday when he saw a man and a woman fighting in the 2600 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. Prosecutors said the woman had been walking to a McDonald's and her cash was visible.
The man hit her, and she struck back, prosecutors said.
Ajmal said he jumped out of his truck and walked purposefully toward them, ready to intervene.
"I yelled at the guy, and he started to walk away," Ajmal said. "You know the person who takes off is usually in the wrong."
The man fled southbound on Milwaukee and turned on Kedzie Street, according to court records.
Ajmal said the woman told him she'd been robbed, and he ran after the alleged mugger, tackling him after two or three blocks.
"I put him in an arm bind," Ajmal said. "I didn't want to hurt him. I just took him down."
Prosecutors confirmed Ajmal's account, saying a witness chased, "tackled" the man, and then held him until police arrived.
The man, later identified as Alpheaus Putmon, was arrested and charged with robbery. About $40 was taken from the 42-year-old victim, who suffered no serious injuries.
The woman got her money back, according to court records. Putmon, 43, of Minneapolis, was ordered held on $250,000 bond when he appeared in court Tuesday.
Ajmal said he was glad he stepped up when "everybody else thought somebody else" would come to the rescue.