A six-time felon who allegedly raped and robbed a woman after forcing her into his van near the Magnificent Mile on July 4, 2020, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Juan Sanchez, also known as Alvin Lopez-Hernandez, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. The state dropped ten other felonies in the agreement, including kidnapping and robbery.
Prosecutors linked Sanchez to a string of lewd incidents involving a man in a van who targeted women across the North Side in the days following the attack and speculated during a bail hearing that he was trolling for another victim.
The victim, a 36-year-old woman, was walking to an appointment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital when Sanchez stopped his van next to her on the 100 block of East Huron and stepped in front of her around 7:13 a.m., prosecutors said.
He allegedly told her he had a gun and demanded money, which the woman gave him. Then, he again claimed to have a gun as he ordered her to get into his van.
The woman complied. He locked the doors and pulled into a nearby alley.
He asked, “You didn’t think that I was going to let you go, did you?”
Then, he sexually assaulted the woman in the back of his van.
Sanchez took the woman’s phone so she could not call the police and kicked her out of the vehicle. But she managed to memorize the van’s license plate number, which she gave to investigators.
Police collected surveillance footage from the area and identified Sanchez through the van’s plate, according to court records. They included his picture in a photo line-up, and the victim picked him out.
Cops arrested Sanchez on the 5200 block of North Lincoln after being led to his van’s location by CPD’s license plate reader network.
In a court filing, prosecutors linked Sanchez to five incidents other women reported within days of the sexual assault.
One woman said Sanchez followed her in his van as she walked her dog in the 2800 block of West Diversey on July 6. She took pictures of his van after he exposed himself to her, the document said.
Another woman reported a similar encounter with Sanchez about two hours later
in Logan Square. Another woman reported a similar exposure incident at Kilbourn Park a few minutes later.
Then, also in Kilbourn Park, Sanchez got out of his van and climbed into a car next to a woman who was getting ready to jog, prosecutors said. He started to unzip his pants and said he was a porn star, according to the court filing.
Prosecutors said he started to move toward her side of the car but backed off and demanded her purse while claiming to have a gun.
The woman began honking her car horn and yelling for passersby to call 911.
Sanchez grabbed the woman’s purse and phone and escaped in his van, prosecutors said.
The next day, Sanchez allegedly exposed himself from his van to another woman walking a dog on the 1400 block of West Wrightwood in Lincoln Park.
Judge Stanley Sacks oversaw the case and sentenced Sanchez. He ordered Sanchez to register as a sex offender and gave him credit for the 546 days he spent in custody before sentencing.
Sanchez was on parole for burglary at the time of his latest crimes. According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, his next parole date is set for November 2, 2029.
Sanchez previously served time for burglary in Ohio and Wisconsin, robbery in Ohio, and possessing a stolen motor vehicle and narcotics in Illinois.
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