WICKER PARK — A solicitor who was raising money for an LGBT nonprofit organization on the streets of Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park tackled a purse snatcher and returned to work with bandages on his wrist and shoulder.
Marc Wilson, 23, was standing in front of Aldo Shoes at 1520 N. Milwaukee Ave. around 11:30 a.m. Thursday when he heard a woman screaming, "Hey! Stop that guy!" just as a man was running in a bicycle lane.
For whatever reason, the man, whom Wilson described as "mixed race with a blond streak in his hair" and about 19 or 20 years old, moved onto the sidewalk, which prompted Wilson to stick out his foot and trip him.
Wilson tackled the man, who was clutching a leather black and gold purse and screaming, "This is my purse!" and then said he "slammed him" against a parked car to restrain him.
Wilson did not realize he'd been bitten on his left shoulder by the man until another citizen, who Wilson said referred to himself as "an Army guy," took over and restrained the snatcher, who managed to break away, Wilson said.
The alleged purse snatcher was arrested by police who cornered him near Pint Bar and Restaurant, 1547 N. Milwaukee Ave.
A Logan Square resident, Wilson said he was in the middle of talking with a person about the Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that he's worked with for five years, when the incident occurred.
After going to Walgreen's to purchase gauze, Wilson returned to work on the streets, where he was photographed by a reporter around 3 p.m. Thursday, hours after his heroic act.
Wilson said he plans to go to The Night Ministry bus late Thursday to get a Hepatitis shot.
According to witness Ken Lubinski, owner of Lubinski Furniture at 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., Shakespeare District police arrived within eight minutes of the man running past the furniture shop's window.
Designer Alma Wieser, 34, lives above Lubinski Furniture and was among several witnesses.
"I saw the guy running across the street. I'm thinking 'Okay, I'm a woman. What am I gonna do?'" Wieser said.
"I'm hearing someone keep saying, 'Get him! Get him! Get him!'" she said before Wilson took him down. "That's when he (the snatcher) bit him."
Weiser says after the snatcher was wrestled down, someone else called 911. She said the purse snatcher was taken into custody shortly after the incident.
Officer Daniel O'Brien, a police spokesman, confirmed the incident late Thursday and said the man is in custody but hasn't been charged yet.
O'Brien said charges would "depend on extent of the injury," and could include misdemeanor battery.