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Logan Square Rallies to Cover Robbery Victim's Medical Expenses

By Mark Konkol | April 30, 2014 7:23am
 Logan Square wine store owner Joe Patt led a fundraiser to help cover medical expenses of an employee who was mugged in the neighborhood. More than 60 people donated $3,210 in one day.
Logan Square wine store owner Joe Patt led a fundraiser to help cover medical expenses of an employee who was mugged in the neighborhood. More than 60 people donated $3,210 in one day.
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DNAinfo/ Mark Konkol

LOGAN SQUARE — Last month, a 29-year-old wine store clerk was robbed and beaten on his walk home from work.

Five young men surrounded the clerk, forced him into an alley and told him to "give up his phone and wallet."

"Having never been mugged before," the clerk said, "I kept saying, 'No.'"

That's when he got punched in the face.

The others joined in, punching and kicking him in the head and body until he was bloody and bruised.

They took his cellphone and all the cash in his wallet.

"They got away with nine bucks," said the clerk, who asked not to be identified.

He got a good look at two of his attackers before they ran away. After a while, he picked himself up, walked home and called 911.

Paramedics told him his skull may have been fractured and took him to St. Mary's Hospital, where doctors ran tests and stitched up the giant gash on his forehead.

Police interviewed the man, who told them every detail.

In certain parts of Chicago, the reality is some people would not have called 911 for fear that cooperating with police — even if that means identifying their own attacker — might put them or their loved ones at risk of being attacked again.

The clerk says he knows all about that fear.

But he was too "disgusted and angry" about what happened not to help police catch the guys who jumped him before someone else was victimized in Logan Square.

"I love my neighborhood, and since I moved here from Ohio three years ago I've become part of the community," he said. "At the very least, I wanted to let people know what happened so they could be aware."

The clerk said he talked with detectives almost every day after being attacked and about a week later identified one of his attackers out of a police lineup. He also picked a second attacker out of a collection of mug shots.

"Going through all that was really unsettling, and I really didn't want to do it at first," he said. "But I had so much support and encouragement, and people saying that it's the right thing to help police do their job. So I did."

The clerk said detectives told him the men he positively identified also were involved in other robberies, including a mugging in Noble Square that happened the same week he was attacked.

On Tuesday, the clerk said he felt good about that, but the whole ordeal still left him hurting in the pocketbook.

Even with health insurance, his trip to the hospital came with a hefty price tag.

He's on the hook for a $3,000 deductible that, frankly, he can't afford on what he gets paid at the Logan Square shop where he sells fancy wines, stinky cheeses and imported chocolates.

When shop owners Joe and Tracy Patt found out about their employee's financial troubles they felt an obligation — as did the man's friends and neighbors — to lend a hand.

On Tuesday, they posted details about his story on a social media fundraising website, and asked neighbors, customers and friends to help cover his medical expenses.

"No gift is too small," the post read. "We hope to raise enough to cover his entire deductible, so he can truly put this behind him and work toward the future!"

Joe Patt said the call for donations was about more than raising money.

He "showed he had courage, that he loves the neighborhood and wants to help out in any way he can," Joe Patt said. "We've lived here a long time, and a lot of people here care about the neighborhood being a place were people can be safe. We care about him, and this is a way to show that what he did was important."

Despite the cooperation with police, no one has been charged with the robbery, police said.

Still, by Tuesday night more than 60 friends, neighbors and wine shop customers thanked him by donating $3,210 to cover his medical bills.

The wine shop clerk was touched by the outpouring — and left with a lesson in the importance of being a good neighbor, even when it's scary.

"You know, today was really overwhelming for me. All the fundraising brought all the memories back from what happened, so there's a lot of emotion. I'm grateful," he said.

"It makes me feel cared for. … I learned that when something s----- happens that something amazing can come of it. I learned that our neighborhood is strong."

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