CRIMINAL COURTS — Two Southwest Side men are charged in a string of robberies and sexual assaults after prosecutors say they made dates with escorts only to rob and terrorize the women at gun point.
Alfredo Torres, 28, and Ruben Hernandez, 21, were ordered held without bail during a brief court hearing Tuesday when prosecutors laid out allegations of an alleged crime spree that began on Sept. 9 and continued until police intercepted two would-be victims on Sunday.
Seven escorts, including at least two contacted through Backpages.com, were contacted by Torres and Hernandez and agreed to meet them at various locations on the Southwest Side.
But as each of the women arrived, they quickly realized their dates had ill intentions when Torres pulled out what appeared to be a gun, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Beth Novy said.
In the first incident, on Sept. 9, a 35-year-old old escort was greeted at the front door of a house on 84th Street by Hernandez, Novy said. He pulled her inside, where Torres was hiding in the closet with a gun.
Torres assaulted the woman, while Hernandez stood guard at the door, Novy said. Both men allegedly stole the woman’s cellphone, cash and ID before allowing her to leave.
About a month later, on Oct. 13, a 30-year-old female escort arrived at a house on 71st Street, where Torres was waiting with a gun, Novy said.
She was ordered inside and forced to take off her clothes, Novy said. Torres allegedly ordered the woman upstairs while threatening to rob her pimp.
She was held in a room for about five minutes and then her captors let her go, authorities said.
Similar attacks happened on Oct. 17, Oct. 25 and Oct. 27.
On Oct. 17, a 27-year-old victim told police that while Torres and Hernandez were assaulting her at a house on Shakespeare Street, she heard a loud noise upstairs, Novy said. The two men had been holding another woman from an earlier sexual assault, and the woman had jumped out of the window, she said.
In an incident on Oct. 25, another escort, a 29-year-old woman, was ordered into the closet of a house on Elston Street and heard another woman’s muffled screams, Novy said. A short time later, Torres forced the woman out of the closet and assaulted her.
The two men’s alleged spree of rape and robbery ended on Sunday when two escorts attempted to meet the men at a house on Shakespeare. The women came and went because the house looked abandoned. After they left, the escorts received numerous calls from the same number, Novy said.
When the escorts returned to the house a second time, police intercepted them and explained that they had been tracing the cell number used to call them as part of an investigation into multiple assaults and robberies, Novy said.
Torres and Hernandez ran when they saw cops, but were quickly detained.
Police found a black replica firearm, later identified by victims as the weapon used in the crimes, Novy said.
Hernandez admitted to all six incidents. Torres admitted only to having a gun during the Sept. 9 incident but denied sexually assaulting the escort, Novy said.
Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan ordered both men held without bail.
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