The four men had just robbed him in his front yard, but a brand new Lakeview resident offered a gesture of peace as they left. “I’ll pray for you,” he said.
One of the men had a thought in return: “Pray for your fucking life.”
And so it went Sunday evening for the Columbia College freshman who just moved here from Ohio.
The four offenders would go on to steal a pizza deliveryman’s car nearby before speeding out of the neighborhood around 6 o’clock Sunday night.
A resident in the 1000 block of West George first reported seeing the four future robbers poking through an alley and looking into cars at 3:30 p.m.
But the 19th district was essentially out of officers at the time—a situation known as “RAP” status. Two hours later, the call of “suspicious persons” had still not been checked out.
At 5:40 pm., another call came in.
Four men matching the previous caller’s description just went into a house that they don’t own in the 1000 block of West George.
Ten minutes later the man who lives next door to that house—the Columbia College student—was robbed in his yard.
One of his neighbors, sitting in a nearby car, saw it go down.
The offenders “walked east on George, just passing the victim at his fence gate. The victim entered the front yard and they double backed and entered as well. I quickly drove up to the front and they were exchanging words.”
According to the victim, the four men initially asked him for directions to Diversey Parkway. Then, they announced the robbery and motioned as if they were armed. As the four collected the man’s $20 that neighbor in the car knew something was wrong.
“I have a police siren in my car,” the witness told us, “I turned it on for a few seconds which spooked them” and they ran away. “I followed [them] while on with  as they ducked into the alley behind Barcocina…then north in an alley towards Oakdale. I lost sight of them.”
The four re-appeared moments later, hopping into an idling pizza delivery car at Diversey and Sheffield and speeding north.
Police describe the four offenders as black men in their late teens. One was heavyset and wore a red cap and a black puffy coat. Another wore a dark jacket and camouflage pants. The third had short twists in his hair and wore a gray jacket with khaki pants. And the fourth wore a dark jacket with jeans.
All remain at large tonight.