A woman was sexually assaulted near her coffee shop on Monday in Chicago. It was a typical day for Allison Howe. She headed to her usual coffee shop in the Wicker Park neighborhood around 10:00 am. Not owning a car, Howe walks anywhere she needs to go. As she walked towards the coffee shop near the Damen Blue line stop, she got assaulted from behind, reports CBS Chicago.
Howe states that the suspect peeled some of her skin off, causing her to bruise. She described him wearing black clothing and fleeing the scene on a bike near Pierce and Hoyne. After her assault, Howe tried warning women in Wicker Park about the masked perpetrator. Immediately, a woman told Howe she was also sexually assaulted moments before. Howe called 911 and filed a report with Chicago police.
According to IBTimes, she knew she couldn’t stop there. The next day Howe headed to the nearest apartment building, trying to look for surveillance cameras. She told a building manager about the incident and gave her the proof she needed. The image was that of the masked cyclist disguised in black clothing. BlockClubChicago reports that Howe has also shared her story on Facebook. Her bravery led other women to come forward with their assault by the same man in Wicker Park.
One of the victims is a 39-year-old mother who was pushing her 3-year-old daughter in a stroller. On Monday morning, she walked north on Damon Avenue when a man in a bicycle slapped her butt violently. The victim didn’t file a police report until she saw Howe’s post on Facebook. According to CBS Chicago, at least three victims have come forward with their stories. On Thursday, September 17, another victim filed a police report. Officials are urging more victims to come forward while they continue their investigation.
If you have any information, contact Chicago detectives at (312) 746-7394 or submit an anonymous tip to police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli. Victims can file a report by calling 311, reports BlockClubChicago.