ROGERS PARK — Residents of a building on North Shore Avenue — where police said a 24-year-old woman was sexually assaulted Wednesday while doing laundry — said they feel unsafe due to lax building maintenance.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) also criticized the safety of the four-story, multiunit apartment building at 1239 W. North Shore Ave. Outside the building Thursday, he pointed out an unlocked courtyard gate and an unhinged window that leads to the basement laundry room where the woman said she was attacked about 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"The building in places was not secure. The gate wasn't secure. You could just walk in," said Moore, who said he instructed the landlord to fix busted locks and the window.
He said he would refer the "violations of city code" to city building inspectors.
The building's landlord could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
The incident was frightening in and of itself, residents said. Police said a man walked up to the woman from behind and covered her eyes with his hands. He told her he had a gun and demanded cash, according to police, then took the woman's keys and phone from her pocket.
When the woman began to struggle, the man struck her head against a support beam before sexually assaulting her, police said.
Jennifer Schwartz, 35, who lives in the building, was circulating a petition with her neighbors to persuade the building's landlord to make repairs.
"It's not just a [maintenance issue]; it's a matter of security," she said. "And it's not OK."
Adriana Pina, 31, said she had lived in the building for four years and learned about the attack when she came home Thursday night and saw news trucks lining North Shore, a quiet, one-way residential street.
"I'm scared ... because of the fact that I also do laundry around the same hour" as the woman who was attacked, she said.
Resident Tantay Spradley, who was standing on the sidewalk across the street from the building on Thursday evening, said she was scared and considering moving out of the neighborhood.
"I'm very sad. I'm very hurt," she said. "This is all nearby, and I have a 13-year-old daughter who goes to school right here. It's very scary. My heart hurts because young men out here are not thinking.
"I really hope they catch him," Spradley said.
When a friend told Tamara Anderson Thursday morning about the attack, a block from where Anderson lives, she said she thought, "Oh, that's dangerously close."
But Anderson, 30, said she still feels "fairly safe" in Rogers Park.
"I want to know how he got into the building," she said. "Most of these places you have to punch in a code. Same with ours. They're kind of strict about it."
Police described the suspect as a black man between 5-foot-10 and 6-foot-2. He was wearing tan boots, blue jeans and a black jacket with black-and-white wrist cuffs.
Police ask anyone with information to call detectives at 312-744-8263 and mention case No. HX132177.